Matthew 1:23, Psalm 100
Jim Lowe on overcoming those January blues.
It's crazy to think that less than a month ago it was Christmas. When a lot of us were singing carols, buying presents, eating and spending too much. When, to quote Andy Williams, it was 'the most wonderful time of the year'. It's a time when we remember Immanuel, 'God is with us.' (Matthew 1:23)
Now we are a couple of weeks later, it's all a distant memory. January and its cold long nights have set in, things have gone back to normal, the credit card bills from Christmas time have started arriving and we've finally braved stepping on the scales to see how much weight we have put on in a short time. In fact, this coming Monday (21st January 2019) is known as 'Blue Monday'. Even though I am aware it started as a PR stunt for Sky Travel, it got me thinking...
Last year, our boiler broke down. The day this happened, it started to snow, the house was freezing, the whole family were huddled around one electric heater and everything appeared to have a bluer tint than normal. Even though the only thing that was different was it was freezing.
Often our moods, state of mind and what we perceive are determined by what's happening around us. But whether it's summer, winter, autumn or spring; whether it's Christmas, Easter or our birthday; in the midst of celebrating life or mourning death; in sickness and in health, we still have Immanuel, God with us.
I find that amazing and worth celebrating. God is with me, God is with you. He's not just Immanuel at Christmas; He's still Immanuel now.
One of my favourite passages in the Bible is Psalm 100:
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
I have spent a long time meditating on this passage over the years. There are so many truths here that can lift our spirits, even on Blue Monday!
He made us, we are His. The idea that God, the creator of the universe, calls us His, is simply amazing. Put that together with the fact that His love for us and His faithfulness continues generation after generation and it's incredible.
Whatever I'm going through, I am God's. I belong to Him. He's with me. Add that to His faithfulness, that even when many others would have left me, God is faithful to stick with me.
No wonder the person who wrote this Psalm is so full of praise and thanksgiving. He knew that God is with us all the time. He knew that God doesn't change even though the seasons around us change.
I also think the person who wrote this Psalm knew something significant. I suspect that they knew even when things are glum, there is so much we can celebrate in God.
So if today you're feeling blue because you've just received your credit card bill (and the people you spent the money on didn't even like their gifts!), or it's cold outside and summer seems far away, remember, Immanuel is still with you. I think that's something that's worth celebrating.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.