Celebrating the Not So Good with our Good God

In Daily Devotional by Paul Jolicoeur

Theme of the Week: Impact for the Year

Bible Verse: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’).” Matthew 1:23

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 7:13-17

Christmas is in full swing, and we are nearing the end of the year. Many of us have traditions for this time of year: decorate trees, attend church, see friends and family.

One tradition that seems to be getting more and more popular is trashing the year that is ending. On social media, we will see people saying things like, “Can’t wait for 2022 to be over.” “So long, 2022!” or “Good riddance, 2022!”.

I’ve always disliked these posts. I understand the temptation, some years are truly horrific, personally, nationally, and globally, but the idea of throwing a year away as meaningless because of our experiences is not a healthy way to look at our time.

2022 was a trying year for our family. My wife faced major health concerns that made me take on most of the household responsibilities while juggling work and church. And did I mention I have three young kids?

It would be easy to say, “Good riddance!” to 2022. But saying that this last year was a year to forget would be an easy way to dismiss a difficult time for our family without seeing the “God with us” through it all.

This last year, I learned to be more attentive to my wife’s needs, to slow down and remove activities that weren’t necessary. I learned how to manage my time better and prioritize what matters. I spent more time with my kids and invested more in them — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Many of these would not have happened without the trials of 2022. In all our trials and frustrations, in our questions and hurts, we were not alone because God was with us just like His name Immanuel means.

Here we are again at the end of another year celebrating Christmas, a time when God showed His love for us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him and receive, as believers, the gift of salvation and eternal life.

He is our ever-present Savior and Messiah. In the good times and the bad, when we feel His presence and when we don’t, He is still, and always, Immanuel — God with us.

We have all heard the phrase keep Christ in Christmas. What about the rest of the year? Now that the historical event of Christ’s coming is complete, what is more important is that we allow Jesus to be Immanuel (God with us) each day of the year.

Prayer: Father, thank you for sending Jesus to earth to live among us. Thank you for His perfect life and sacrifice on the cross. Thank You that when He left, we were not left alone. You are with us each moment of our day. Help me never to forget your presence.

Reflection: How can you invite God, Immanuel (meaning God with us), into each moment of your day today?


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About
Paul Jolicoeur
Paul Jolicoeur, a former pastor with the C&MA, is currently in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, and is now focused on the digital marketing world with Impactus. Married to Laurie, they have three young children. He has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Liberty University.
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Paul Jolicoeur
Paul Jolicoeur, a former pastor with the C&MA, is currently in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, and is now focused on the digital marketing world with Impactus. Married to Laurie, they have three young children. He has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Liberty University.