Most teachers I know who know Biblical Greek really well assert that the intended word-picture from John regarding the Word becoming flesh and taking up residence among us (John 1:14) is of God actually pitching His tent among us. Emmanuel, meaning “God with us,” packing up His stuff, putting on skin, and moving into the neighborhood.
Once again, and it is worth repeating, it is hard to miss how much God wanted to communicate His love with PRESENCE rather than just a messenger’s presentation.
Am I loving my neighbor in that same way?
I mean, I already live in the neighborhood. My family and I try, but to be confessional, we can certainly prioritize more as well as be more focused on actively loving our neighbor with our presence in the weekly rhythms of life on the street where we live. We are praying for wisdom and growth in that area, and we encourage you to do the same.
Meantime, try this very simple way to love your neighbors like “Emmanuel” this Christmas week:
Bake some cookies (preferably those that you sit Hershey’s Kiss onto while they are cooling). Make a small 3 x 5 card with all of your contact info on it (cell number, home number, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Divide the cookies out for however many neighbors you will deliver them to, and then attach one of the 3 x 5 cards to them. Go as a family, knock on their door on Christmas Eve morning or Christmas afternoon (or whenever you are gonna be there and think they will be there, too), and give them the cookies and contact info. Simply tell them, “We are grateful to be your neighbors. We wanted to bring you these cookies just to offer you a Christmas gift, and we wanted to make sure you had our contact info in case you want to contact us any time of the year. Merry Christmas.” Wait…don’t just turn and walk away, unless they slam the door in your face. Just listen and love and see where the conversation goes.
Try it. You may be surprised. Loving like Emmanuel often creates ongoing relationships. Above all else, you might actually get to meet and know your neighbors. It will be a great way to cultivate the love of Jesus right there on your block.
Much love. Merry Christmas!