WEDNESDAY (2/17/21)

Hi, my name is John Zahlmann (JZ). I’m in the Marquette Home Group
led by Keith and Shelley. I’m a high school English teacher, still finding
my roots in the South Bend area, and have been at Riverside ever since
I moved to Indiana.

  • Take a little bit of time to stop and read Matthew 2:13-23.

So, I LOVE Christmas. I have a year-round countdown and I truly go
all out for the holiday season. But if I’m honest, when I think of “the
Christmas story” from the Bible, I never remember that the precious
baby Jesus (the Savior and King) was in danger of getting murdered
after he was born.

I never remember that there is a slaughter of young boys in Bethlehem
as Herod is searching for Jesus, leaving mothers without children and
leaving communities in mourning. It seems as if God gave us the most
perfect gift, then it was quickly surrounded in fear, death, loss, grief, and
confusion. Seems kinda messed up, right? Well, it definitely would be…
if this story ended there.

Part of the Christmas story is that Jesus would be named “Immanuel” or
“God with us”. And as the sorrow and the evil of King Herod took place,
God didn’t abandon us – He was still at work. He never left. He called
Joseph to lead his family out of harm’s way (v.13-14, and 19-22), and in
doing so kept Jesus safe and free to grow and minister until it was time
for him to be sacrificed so that we would be able to be with the Him
again (because, again: He wants to be with us). He shows us many times
in just the one Christmas story we are meant to be with Him and that
He’s creating opportunities for that to happen – even when the world
tries to tear us away.

I don’t know about you, but I can definitely think of recent times where
I felt fear, sorrow, and hurt – and what I failed to remember during those
times is that God is ALWAYS with us and WANTS to be with us. While
He isn’t the cause, nor does He want the bad moments to happen, He
surely will be with us when they do. He’s here to offer us safety, hope,
rescue, and strength.

Consider reflecting on the following question today:

  • Where can you see God working to be with you in a challenging, negative moment in your life?