On Friday, I was reminded by several different sources--a blog, Bible study, and my Christmas music--that "the Lord is near" (Philippians 4:5). The simplicity of such a declaration belies its enormity. The LORD is near! The Creator God is also Immanuel: God with us.
In the broken relationship between a holy God and people who chose their own mistakes over His better plan, the only one with the position and power to fix it was God Himself. Jesus Christ--God the Son--came into the world of men to live among us, to experience the same struggles, to offer himself as the innocent "guilty" one in our stead, to die a terrible death, to come to life again victoriously, and to be the totally understanding and perfect representative in Heaven.
He has not chosen to save me from a distance, brush off my hurts or struggles with the cosmic sweep of a hand, and pretend everything is fine. Jesus is my intimate redeemer. He knows and loves me. He has saved me completely, powerfully, personally and will continue to deal with the real life issues with me. What a marvel!
It is such intimacy, closeness, reality with God that gives me comfort, identity, power and purpose in this life. The passage in Philippians 4 continues with the admonition not to be anxious. How is that possible? Remember, "the Lord is near." There is the security, the comfort, the foundation to combat worry.
The greatest gift and most profound truth for which I can be thankful is such a personal God, an up-close savior.