He came for you. He left it all and came small and unannounced, slipping into the world He created in the dark of night. Emmanuel, Christ come for us – to be with us. Christmas has come and gone once again but even still, Christ is with us.

I wrote about this word in Even If Not and I wrote about it last December, too. Maybe you know this, but thousands of people pick one word for their year, just one word to focus on for the next set of 365, and I like to play along. But if we’re being honest, God seems to give me Season Words – one word for a particular time of my life.

December 2013: Emmanuel.

December 2014: Emmanuel.

December 2015: Emmanuel.

Emmanuel... God with us.

It appears this is one word that I just can’t let go of.

For 2013 I chose beloved. Be loved. Be love. Be the beloved.

But when the calendar flipped to 2014, I grasped at straws for a word that could sum up so many ‘lasts’ as college began one last time. Two months into 2014 I finally landed on believe and trust me, it took on more meanings than I could possible have imagined.

Believe there is light when  Believe He will carry you through. Believe there is space at the table for you. Believe the Truths you know to be true when all you hear are lies. Believe that believing is not a mistake.

And then came December… Emmanuel.


The word floating around my brain, printed in ink on all the book pages, playing on the radio no matter which station I turn to, is Emmanuel.

God come down to us. God with us. God coming back for us.

I’m fascinated by the word, by the God who would come for me, stay with me, and come for me once more. I know this God-man but I want to know Him more, to know Him fiercely. Emmanuel, my word for the season. Emmanuel, God with me in every season.

Believe. Emmanuel. Believe.

No matter what... believe

In the busy, hectic pace of Christmas and preparing for a new year – God with us. Where do we make space in our schedules for the Savior who came as a baby to redeem a broken people? And how do we ask that question honestly, when the question itself makes us want to curl up in shame?

“Make space” for Jesus? The thought itself is absurd, that we would have to work at making space for the King of Kings. But take a quick look at my planner and it’s clear things are busy and life moves quickly by.

We have to make space in the pace. We have to add Emmanuel in, because without Him Christmas (and the whole year) is just a climbing of ladders and a bending of the back to reach one more rung and sow one more seed on a planet that was never meant to be our permanent home.

When we make a little space in our pace for Emmanuel, our pace becomes pEace.

Peace. In the pace.

God with us in the hurry, the hectic, the to-do list. While cooking dinner and going out with friends, God with us at the table. In the making and the wrapping, in the encouraging and the writing and the cleaning. Still, God with us.


Believe. Emmanuel. Believe.

God come to us – bElieve.

God with us in the every day, every day – beliEve.

God coming back for us – believE.

Oh, how He loves us. We can always believe because God is always coming for His beloved, always returning to us and loving us. My word for 2013 held the hint of Emmanuel all along because God, He is always with us.


Last December I made a list of words for 2015 and I won’t lie, it was pretty great. The words held promise, all of them equally encouraging and challenging. But as I went about my daily life one word came to mind and something inside said “that’s the one.”

I tried to fight it, if we’re being honest, because I knew that one word would absolutely wreck me.

It did. Over and over it has wrecked me and remade me and taught my heart to look solely to Him.

Keep watch and believe

Keep your eyes open, wait and watch – He will keep His promises. God will watch to see that His Word is fulfilled. I have watched Him provide just enough for each day and always provide more than enough of Himself in every moment. I have seen Him prove to be the Answer for every question and when I left the place that stole my heart, the place I called home for four years, He watched over my coming and my going, reminding me that I would never be alone no matter where I chose to go.

Last year I wrote these words to myself and I’ve seen them prove more than true over the past 365: Watch Him blow your mind in all the big ways and the small, too. Watch for the daily joys and watch for the light in the struggles. Dwell in His Word, breathe deep of the Peace in the pace. Love deeply. Enjoy the journey. Be free of hurrying and release the worries. Keep watch and believe.


Emmanuel... God with us.

I have believed. I have kept watch and He has shown up in every season, Emmanuel with me in every moment. This year has been hard in ways I never could have imagined. It seems every aspect of my life has changed in some way, shape or form and yet He remains the same, constant and sure.

A few weeks ago He quietly whispered my word for 2016 and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. And yet I’m certain it’s the one He has chosen for me, confident that it’s mine for reasons not yet revealed to me.

But I’m listening and watching, waiting and hoping, expectant. Because this I believe through and through: He is Emmanuel in every season.

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Portions of this post originally shared here.