In the season of advent, we celebrate the coming of Immanuel—a name that means “God with us.” At the birth of Jesus, God the Son made his dwelling place among us. But God didn’t start dwelling with us when Jesus arrived; this has been his mission all along—seeking to dwell with us.
Seeing God with Us In The Bible
In the Garden of Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve. He created humanity to dwell with him fully. True fellowship was happening in the garden without a curtain or mediation.
In Exodus, God dwelled with his people in the tabernacle. In Kings and Chronicles, God dwelled with his people in the temple. God and his chosen people were in fellowship in God’s chosen city.
God With Us Through Christ
In the incarnation, God dwelled with us through sending Christ, who is God in the flesh. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In the person of Jesus, God walked with his people, healed his people, and taught his people. In Christ, we see a picture of the garden: full fellowship with God on earth.
Christ, through his death and resurrection, purchased our reconciliation with God. We can dwell with God because Christ became our mediator, our true and final priest.
God With Us & In Us Today
God’s dwelling among men did not end with Christ ascending, however. When he left, Christ sent the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, to make his dwelling place not just with us but in us. It might be tempting to wish we had been with Jesus or to have been around at the temple, but we are in the same presence of God as those people were. The presence that created the world, that called to Abraham, that spoke through the burning bush, that killed Goliath, that healed diseases, and that started that church is with us this very moment in Christ.
In the Great Commission, Jesus gives one last promise as he goes. “Behold, I will be with you always” (Matt. 28:20 ). God is very much with us right now.
There will be a day when we will return to the garden in full unmediated fellowship with God. John, the writer of Revelation, says this will be our final dwelling place:
Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:3–4 ).
Scripture begins with God with us in the garden without sin and brokenness hindering our fellowship with him. And Scripture ends with the vision of our resting place with no tears, no sin, no death. God’s mission will be complete. He will be with us and we will be with him. God’s redemption, planned in eternities past, shadowed in history, and accomplished in Christ’s work, will be finalized in Christ’s return.
God, the infinitely worthy and beautiful Creator of the world, wants to be with us. As you enter advent, would you just ponder this word “Immanuel,” God with us? Jesus came to be with me and you, not just make us better people. He wants to be present with us. Make space this season to simply be with Jesus and in awe of what he has done.