A Glimpse of God

Saturday, DECEMBER 23, 2023

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

—Romans 8:35, 37-39 (NLT)

So often when people are going through difficult seasons they ask: Where is God? And just as often, we forget that God is always with us—through all of the beautiful and the terrible. 

I wish God would show up with a big neon sign announcing God’s presence, or storm in with an army to make things right, or perform a healing miracle right when I ask for it. But more often, God shows up in small merciful glimpses of joy and love. The presence of a friend. An encouraging word at the right time. The beauty of a sunset after a long day. 

God is with us in the wonder and tears, through the sorrows and celebrations, through the amazement and disbelief of life. As theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “The joy of God has gone through the poverty of the manger and the agony of the cross; that is why it is invincible, irrefutable. It does not deny the anguish, when it is there, but finds God in the midst of it.” May you have the eyes to see the presence of God in the midst of whatever it is you’re facing today. 

Read this blessing from The Lives We Actually Have:

for a little boost in the morning (p. 48)

Resurrection has happened again today–
you made the sun rise,
and brought love to the world already, 
in the shape of a cross.
The hardest work is already done.
The work that remains is simply more of it:
more love, more trust, 
more faith in the unseen pleasure you take
just gazing at us, sitting here.


1. Have you ever asked or wondered, “Where is God in this situation”? What were you going through?

2. Galatians 5:22-23 describes the signs of the Spirit as joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, love, and self control. Sometimes God works through miracles. And sometimes God is present through small moments of God’s Spirit. During that difficult season, did you experience God through one of these mysterious ways?

3. Where do you see God in your life right now? Through the love of a friend? Joy of a grandchild? The goodness or beauty of nature around you?

Going Deeper:


Did you know that the song “Joy to the World” was not written about the birth of Jesus in Luke 2? This song was actually written by Isaac Watts in 1719 about Psalm 98, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises” (Psalm 98:4). The hymn was written to celebrate Christ’s second coming more than the birth of Christ. Yet, it has become one of the most popular Christmas hymns. In many traditions, it is the last song you sing during the Christmas Eve service, often the congregation will light candles and sing “Joy to the World” right as the clock strikes 12:01am. 

Take time to read the words of “Joy to the World” while reflecting on all that you have learned about joy this week. Here are more ideas to help you think deeper about the words of this song:

  • How can you “prepare room” in your heart for God? Is there space and time in your schedule to notice the presence of God in your life?
  • Read Psalm 98:7-8 and reflect on the invitation to all creation (us too!): “Let heaven and nature sing.”
  • Did you know the “curse” mentioned in verse three is referring to the “curse” of Genesis 3:17, when Adam eats of the apple, and God curses the ground? There are many interpretations and perspectives on this curse and its consequences, but this song sings of hope: blessing will flow into all the world “as far as the curse is found” (good and bad, light or dark, awful and amazing). There is no place that God’s blessings will not reach when the Kingdom of God has fully arrived. 
  • How might the “nations prove” the glory of God’s righteousness? 

Listen Along with our spotify playlist: