The Emmanuel Year

*If you want to indulge more than just one sense, I suggest listening to Living in Awe (Birth) by Cloud Cult. Words can only say so much, but words + an image + music can say more.

Imagine with me for a moment that you have traveled back in time to the night of Christ’s birth. There you are in the quiet moment’s after Jesus has just been wrapped in cloth and is now being rocked back and forth and back and forth across the chest of His mother, Mary.Suddenly she sees you there, sidling along the doorway of the stable, your eyes glued to the baby in her arms. Without conversation or questions, she gives you a nod of invitation and you draw near reaching your arms out towards your blessed Savior. She puddles her new Son into your arms and…what do you feel? A warmth across your chest and the calm satisfaction that is common when you hold any vulnerable sleeping baby against you: your contentment at their contentment. But there is much more moving inside of you because you know this isn’t just any child: This is the infant God. This is Yeshua. This is the fulfiller of all prophecy and the incarnate form of the very Creator that thought you into existence. This is the Salvation of all the world. Enfleshed in tiny form is the Ancient of Days. You are peering upon the face of Divinity.

As I am sent into that moment, my heart swells with the most holy awe. I am over my head in wonder, an enchantment that surges in my blood like adrenaline.This is God in the form of man and my chest is reverberating with honor. My body is quaking with the fear of the Lord, branded by that fear. Adoration begins to consume my being and overtaking my thoughts until I am enveloped entirely in the cloud of this very present presence. The salt of both tears and happy praise season the experience with unforgettable gratitude; humbled at the thought of holding the Universe in my arms. Who am I to be here? Who am I to look upon the illuminated Child as He takes His first few breaths of our planet? Who are we to be able to witness the great I Am at all? Who are we to have ears that hear and eyes that see? It is the feeling of being at a feast when you are already full, but unable to stop eating because there is a deeper starvation in you for more—more of all I am getting to behold, to be and to hold.

This image has filled my mind over the past two months as often as the reoccurring image I had just a few months ago (read about it here) in which it was Christ who was rocking me. However, this vision felt infinitely more weighty and alive. Everything was alive. I felt I was standing on the precipice of what was to come. The whole image felt like an introduction to what I have fondly christened, “The Emmanuel Year.” A true Apostle in the earth by the name of Damon Thompson shared a poignant message for those who were to enter into the lifestyle of thanksgiving (specifically this past fall). He shared that those who entered the gate of thanksgiving would then find themselves in a world where “God will make the whole of 2018 like Christmas.” Not the superficial consumer Christmas, but the first Noel Christmas where it is all about Emmanuel, meaning “God with Us.” This is what we are standing on the edge of…a year where He is nearer than He has ever been. His Presence will be felt in the Present moment of day after day for those who nurture that honor and devotion in their hearts. Where, as the month’s pass, we will grow with Him from stable to ascension, in wisdom and stature, in favor of God and man. It’s the year were the supernatural begins to take form in the natural. Heaven breaking into the earth, eternity into time. It’s the year where, all vagueness aside, our proximity to Him will set into motion an overflow of great giving of resources, exceeding joy, and outpourings of authentic worship. The King is coming near this year—whenever that moment is that you felt Him the nearest of all—will seem like a shadow in comparison—for those who can see this year for what it is—Emmanuel, the gift above all blessing.

“What made the wisemen wise?” He whispered as I cradled the Christ-Child in my moment of beholding. As usual, I didn’t respond but waited for the answer. (It seems He is always asking questions He doesn’t expect us to answer, does it not?) “They were able to see the maturity of what would be while it was still in its immature form.” His words struck my chest like a high-voltage strike of lightning. The wisemen brought treasure boxes of gold and frankincense and myrrh, pouring out worship at the feet of a freshly born baby because they knew what He would become. The religious expected a full-grown man in the priesthood like their own—definitely not someone who would flip their tables, spit in dirt to heal eyes, and not even start His ministry until He was 30. When the masses expected someone with royal blood and political power…when the earth was searching faces, the wisemen were searching skies. No, only a few could see the Lion in the tiny Lamb. It was the unconventional handful in the fields who were truly wise.

I pondered His words in my heart as He whispered again, like a wave over my body. “So should you honor this moment in history as you would the infant Jesus in your arms.” These wisemen were true Sons of Issachar, understanding the times and seasons. They weren’t discerning the next national disaster or presidential election. In fact, the governments of the earth were far less important to the government that was birthed into being that night. No, the Sons of Issachar were never to be diluted to such a lesser realm, but to advance from that starting place into a place of seeing what the times and seasons were in a Superior Dimension.The Sons of Issachar are not voices of doom, but voices of perpetual hope. They are the ones who care more about the Government of Peace than the governments of man. They can lean in to hear the whisper of the stars that lead to the newborn King.

Maybe you’re caught in the day-by-day. Maybe the world around you is more real to you than the Realm of the Invisible right now. Maybe you’re still fumbling around trying to figure out who you are or what you want to do, chasing a calling.Maybe you’ve expected Jesus to look like the revivals of old, or you can’t even bring yourself into that place of belief for revival at all. Maybe you put off greatness for the person smarter, wiser, or more (fill in the blank). But for a moment, pause, look at the Christ Child in your arms and realize the moment of history you are in. Can you dare to dream again this year? Can you see the start of something beautiful? I believe we are on the dawn of an awakening across the earth—where eyes will be open to see Him once again and the dry statues of religion will crumble. I believe the seeds are being planted for denominational barriers to weaken and melt and racial restrictions become an absurdity of the past. Where tongues sing new songs and knees bow and glory fills temples. Can you see it? Maybe you’re the seed, the start. Maybe it looks more like building families instead of ministries. Maybe it looks more like fathers at home than just preachers in pulpits. Maybe it looks like the steady pursuit of One Thing than the many things of a life that will fade. Maybe it looks like 30 years of preparation before you see anything in the natural. But can you see it now? Can you with the wisemen say, what I see looks small, but I know it will grow up to shake all the earth? Can you hear the crunch of the supernatural stepping into the natural? Can you see the growth of Eden grass among the stoney skyscrapers? Can you look inside and see the smallness of what you are, but celebrate what you are becoming? What do you see? What do you hear? Can you seek Him early in the age of what is to come?

As I looked again, transferring the Baby Jesus in my arms into the unassuming manger on the ground, I saw a glimmer on His pale pink baby feet that looked something like brass. I saw a few threads of hair that looked white like wool. In His deep-lung cry, I heard the something that sounded like the many frequencies of waterfalls. And when our eyes met, oh sweet infant child looking into me, I saw a fire in those orbs that forced me to my knees. Oh come, let us adore Him. Oh come, let us adore Him! I say to you, where your feet stand here, in 2018, is the Night Divine. Let this be the year where God is with you, and rejoice, that if you are permitted to see something small before it grows, that you are among the wise. If you are able to see what will be in the seed of what is, let praise arise. If you are able to honor what is weak before it is yet strong, let your spirit leap for joy. If you can honor that tiny middle ground of what is and whats yet to be, then you will be one who will know how it feels to see both past and future at once. This honor is how you see divinity breaking into time. Come, let us stand among the wise, rejoicing with exceedingly great joy, at what is being birthed this year in us, through us, and unto us. Let us sing with loud chimes,

“Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.”

Father, may we be like those who come from the East. It’s from this direction the Wisemen came. It’s from this direction the glory came to fill the tabernacle. It’s from this direction the garden of Eden stood. It’s from this direction Matthew declares, “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” May we face the right direction this year. May we face hope even in disaster. May we face promise even in small beginnings. May we face rivers even in drought. I ask that we would have eyes to see and ears to hear what You are doing on the earth, even in its beginning stages. May we honor these seeds as if they were already a flourishing garden with fruit we can touch. Lord, may we have the discernment in our hearts, carried from a devotional place in You, that allows us to worship with gratitude for what our eyes are yet to see. We honor what you are birthing into the earth and in our hearts. In the name of Your Son, Yeshua. Amen.

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