Christmas reminds us that wherever we are, God is there

Saturday, December 6, 2008

No doubt you have read this week that the nation is in a recession. The official announcement came when the National Bureau of Economic Research examined the numbers from two consecutive quarters and determined what and how long a recession has been in effect.

In many ways our lives, in particular our spiritual lives, are diagnosed the same way.

We can get into a spiritual recession that is not diagnosed until we are in the middle of it or nearly through it. There may be the day-to-day sense that something just is not right. It may be losing the spring in your step, a feeling that things just seem off. It's not until some moment of intervention, a break in the routine, where you can really begin to see where you are in comparison to where you would like to be.

A major component of the diagnosis is seeing that no matter how deep your spiritual recession goes, God was never apart from you. The poetic words of Psalm 139:8 share with us the inescapable nature of God. It reads, "If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there."

Most of us, even if you do not consider yourself to be a spiritual person, would readily agree that it would be a natural fit for God to be in heaven. But the grave is death. The grave is cold. The grave is dark and depressing. God is with us in both the glorious heavens of our lives and the dark cold grave days as well. The Psalmist readily cries out in this chapter "I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!" (38:7)

No matter how deep and dark our changing spiritual perspective goes leading us to walk away from the things of God, his nature is the constant that can never leave.

Christmas affords us many opportunities to stop and reflect over what has happened in our lives and take an inventory of where we are. It's a season of having more meaning than the day to day hubbub and humbug. It's a season that reminds us no matter where we are, God is there.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father and serves as the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church in Jackson. Read more from him at

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