A 15-Day Christmas Devotional for an Untraditional Year

Rachel Denison

Host of So, you’re having a baby

Fullness of joy in Immanuel’s presence

'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).

—Matthew 1:23

From the very beginning, before he was ever conceived, Jesus was called “Immanuel,” God with us. This is the miracle of Christmas. God in our midst, flesh and blood, right by our side. The reality that the King of heaven would come down from his throne, be born of a virgin, and take on flesh deeply reveals God’s nature. Christ’s coming reveals the pursuit of God to have a deep, abiding connection with us as his people.

Colossians 1:15–20 says of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. . . . He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

Through Christ, God has reconciled all things to himself. And that includes you and me. And God ensured this reconciliation and connection by sending his Holy Spirit to be our closest friend, that we may know him deeply and never have to be without his presence. There is nowhere we could go that he would not be with us, this Immanuel God.

In God’s presence, we experience peace, comfort, and safety. In Psalm 16:11, the Bible says we also experience the fullness of joy: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

As we walk with this Immanuel, day in and day out, the fruit of this abiding connection is joy. And joy to the full. Jesus said in John 15:9–11, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

This Christmas season, invite Immanuel into every moment of every day. Walk with him. Abide in him. Look for him in the wonder in your children’s eyes, in the peace of a sleeping baby, in the warmth of an open fire. He is in all things, and it is simply up to us to tap into that fullness of joy that comes from his presence. It is a promise for you, fully available to you at all times, in every situation.

May the Lord be with you this Advent and make your joy overflow.

Guided Reflection

  1. How might the busyness of Christmas and the heaviness of 2020 keep you from tapping into the joy of God’s presence?
  2. How can you make space this holiday season to embrace the mystery and honor the beauty of Immanuel, God with us? This sacred time often gets overshadowed by the consumerism of the season. What special steps could you take to set this time apart as sacred to God?
  3. Pay attention today to the world around you. Take notice of the God-moments all around you. Write them down. Thank him for his presence in all things. Rejoice in his goodness. Celebrate the coming of our Savior King.

Hear more from Rachel on

So, you're having a baby