“And He has lifted up a horn for His people, Praise for all His godly ones; Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 148:14, NASB95)

As I type this week’s devotional, Baxter, my wee Rat Terrier has just plonked himself down beside my foot. He likes to be near me. On my part, His furry pressure on my calf lends a reassuring warmth to the room.

If a nearness of a creature brings such comfort, how much more the nearness of God. Christian, this is our identity: Who are we? “We are a people near to God.”

His presence is near us. He has sworn never to distance Himself from us: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Furthermore, His thoughts are near us.  How vast is the sum of them. If we should count them, they would outnumber the sand (Psalm 139:18). Like a doting parent, he watches us sleep, when we awake, He is still there. Waiting. Guarding. Watching (Psalm 139:18b). 

His hand is near us: “The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deut 33:27). Amidst a passing world, and the wilting flower of youth, what comfort these arms afford the Christian. Always underneath, there is a foundation beneath the apparent chaos of our lives. Stronger than granite, the Father’s arms will never let us go.

His heart is near us. His care of His little ones is not only a duty, it is also a delight. For He has loved us with an everlasting love. Sometimes, He looks on in silent wonder. At other times, as He watches, He breaks out into song. 

“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17, KJV 1900)

I don’t know what God sounds like when He sings, but I can only imagine it sounds wonderful. Deep like thunder. Warm like a wood fire. Soaring like a soprano. Happy like a babies giggle. Soft like snowfall. Fearsome like a lion. Welcoming like the smell of mother’s cooking. Isn’t it amazing to think, God sings over you, and over me?

Christmas give us the clearest and best promise of His nearness. Christ has come down to our level. His very Name, Immanuel, is a promise. Just how far will God go to have His people near Him? He will become one of us. He will take our nature. He will bear our sorrows. He will become our sins. The maker of men has become a man. He surely will not stand at a distance.

So, whatever 2018 has to throw at you, wherever the hand of providence may take takeYou, one thing is certain: you will not face it alone; God will be with you. The nearness of God will be our good (Psalm 73:28).