Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What Immanuel Means to Special Needs Parents

All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)

It’s Christmas Day. I have spent the past two months dealing with a child having sensory meltdowns, more-than-normal levels of anxiety of the ASD type, lack of sleep, and illness. I’m exhausted. So when the big day finally arrives, the wrapping paper is cleared from the floor, the gift anxiety finally abates, and I can sit and think for a few minutes, I desperately need time to reflect on the Christ child whose birthday we’re celebrating.

I remember all the Advent devotionals we have read this month and the verses we have studied. And the one word that sticks out to me as I sit, weary, trying to begin the recovery process from this holiday season is Immanuel.

God is with us.

What does this mean for me? What does it mean for this day? This year?

Immanuel, God is with us, means that God has been with me through everything. Every meltdown, every struggle with the insurance company, every question I was asked by some well-meaning (or not-so-well-meaning) person, every tear I cried, every time I thought I would never make it until bedtime. Every therapy goal met, every moment of eye contact, every smile, every time she wrapped her little arms around my neck.

God was with me. He is with me still. Immanuel.

We can rest in His presence today and in the days to come.

Merry Christmas!

PRAY: Father, thank you for sending your Son to us. Help us to focus on you today and your constant presence with us. Amen.

~ Jennifer A. Janes

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