Every Christmas, I always find myself going back to and pondering the word Emmanuel. I can never get it out of my head; I am left in awe of what this word means for me and how incredibly this word changes my life, changes all our lives.
Emmanuel — God with us.
This one simple word holds so much weight and in it, I am reminded of just how much God loves us. The Christmas story is about God coming to be with us. He did not have to come, but he chose to show his deep love for us by sending his son Jesus, Emmanuel, to be with us.
Jesus left his throne of glory in heaven to be born in a mucky and miry stable, in the form of a baby. People were expecting a king full of power to come save them, but instead they got a little baby in a feeding trough, born among cows and sheep — not exactly the glorious entrance into the world they were expecting. But in this humble birth of Jesus, God shows that he longs to be with us in all our dirt and confusion and chaos because he loves us. What a beautiful gift that is — that the Lord of the universe chooses to come and step into our lives and sit with us in our mess!
Throughout Bethel Bible Camp’s 76 years of running camps, God has been with us. And we continually see ways in which God is with us in our ministry of proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour to all who come. Over the past couple years, with all the planning and fundraising for our Camp Made New building project, God has so evidently been with us. This project could not be where it is today without God’s hand and provision in it all. At our last board meeting, we reviewed the fundraising numbers for our building project and I was astounded to see that we have raised over $500,000 since December, 2020 — in just one year! That would not be possible if God was not with us, working in and through the generosity of so many who are connected to Bethel. And now, as the walls and roof of the new building begin to go up, we are humbled by the ways God continues to be with us in this project and in our camp.
So, in whatever circumstances you are in this season, in whatever hurt or heartache or pain you have, I pray that this Christmas you come to know more fully that our God came to earth to be with you in those broken places. This Christmas, may you feel Christ’s nearness and remember that God is with you and for you, both now and always. May that be the hope we cling to this Christmas season.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!
Krista Siewert, on behalf of the Bethel Bible Camp Committee