God is with us. His faithful presence in light of our proneness to wander evidences His unfailing love. God is so overwhelmingly faithful that we have a hard time maintaining the belief that He is truly with us. But as only a loving father will, God uses familiar concepts to remind His children that He is faithfully present.
In Matthew 24 verse 30, we learn a “sign” will appear in the sky at Christ’s second coming—this to draw our memory to the sign of the star that shone over the birthplace of Jesus at His arrival in the flesh (Matthew 2:2). The star is also to recall God’s promise to Abraham that He would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 22:17). Again in verse 30, Matthew shares that the Son of Man will arrive on the “clouds of heaven”— the same clouds into which Jesus ascended after his resurrection (Acts 1:9) and not unlike God using a “pillar of clouds” to lead the Israelites through the desert (Exodus 13:21). Verse 31 tells us that Jesus will “send His angels with a loud trumpet blast.” One may wonder if these will be the same angels that appeared to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:9-14) or if the trumpet blast will sound as it did when the walls of Jericho fell at the feet of Joshua and the armies of Israel (Joshua 5:13-6:27).
During the Christmas season, we praise God for being with us in the flesh. Jesus arrived to teach the good news of the Kingdom of God and ultimately atone for our sin with His death on the cross. But it is also worth remembering that God has ALWAYS been and continues to be with His children. After His death, Jesus ascended into heaven, and very shortly thereafter, sent His Spirit to dwell in us. God with us from heaven, God with us in the flesh, God dwelling in us through His Spirit. And, in chapter 24, Matthew recounts that Jesus will return in power and glory, not only to be with us again, but to “gather” believers unto Him… from all over the world!
As you read these scriptures, meditate on all the times and all the ways God has been present with you, and let that strengthen your faith in the day of His glorious return—Immanuel now and forever!