I love this time of year. With the smell of pine mixed with the aromas of cinnamon and spice and the sounds of Christmas carols, I find myself basking in the comfort of home. This feeling of home got me to thinking.
What about Immanuel, God with us? He became a man, giving up his rightful place in heaven. And though heaven was His home and His rightful place, the Bible talks about the fact that He didn’t consider it something to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant. Immanuel, God with us.
Many of you know that I’m getting ready to release my newest book and research project about the secrets of the most happily married couples. (Picture me doing a happy dance that it is one week away!) But one of the most touching things I discovered among these highly happy couples reminds me of what Jesus did. It turns out that one of the things that is making them happy is that these couples don’t consider happiness in marriage something to be grasped. They don’t consider that marriage is there to make them happy or that their partner is there to meet their needs. Rather, their focus is on how they can serve their spouse and meet their needs.
Now, with imperfect people trying to do this in an imperfect world, that doesn’t always work out perfectly. Just like Jesus coming to Earth, many of these couples spoke of times of sacrifice and suffering. But in the end, it usually gave these spouses what they most needed.
One of the best comments I received is from a couple who have been involved in marriage mentoring for many years. The husband pointed out that we usually fall in love with someone because they meet our needs …but when we stand at the altar we’re promising for the rest of our lives to meet the other person’s needs.
As we approach Christmas week, I hope we will all take Immanuel, God with us, as an example for how we can serve those who are closest to us the same way Jesus did. Giving up our rights and needs in order to focus on the needs of those we love most.