“The Lord your God is indeed God in Heaven above and on earth below.” Joshua 2:11
“Jesus said, ‘I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:20
Most of you have heard the story: A man was trapped on a roof as flood water steadily rose. Someone stopped by in a boat to save him. The man refused, and said “God will save me.” The water kept rising. A rescue helicopter dropped a rope. The man did not grab the rope, and shouted to the pilot, “God will save me.” The water rose and the man drowned. When he met God, he asked “God, I trusted you. Why didn’t you save me?” God answered, “Well, I sent you a boat and a helicopter.” The path would be clearer if a celestial being appeared and spoke to us, as happened with Mary.
The very Son of God came to earth unrecognized by most as the Messiah, a Savior. We are told about a group of shepherds hearing the news; learned men from far away, intrigued by a mysterious star; a jealous king. Then we aren’t told much about our Savior until he changed water into wine. But even as he healed the sick and raised some from the dead, he was not welcomed by many or recognized as the Son of God dwelling among us. It is hard to trust when we don’t see the results we wanted … and quickly. Some will say God did not send a boat or helicopter to people in middle US last week. It’s true … many lost much. God did not promise eternal life on earth. God did promise a comforter, that he would never leave us. We don’t recognize God’s help and presence in ordinary angels, the quiet listening of friends, the kindness of strangers – God’s helicopters and boats.
Immanuel, God with us, you befriend us, watch over us, support us, lead us, live within us bringing us peace and comfort. Give us the faith and determination of the shepherds, and the curiosity and courage of the magi. Amen