Tim Tebow has become something of a lightning rod in the world of sports. People either love him or hate him. They either respect him or mock him. While Tebow is still a young man with most of his journey in front of him, I count myself among those who hold him in high regard—and not for the way he plays football. To me, the clearest reasons for being a fan of Tim Tebow have nothing to do with athletics and everything to do with who he is as a person, a young man, and a follower of Christ. One of the earliest evidences of this was not how he put Bible references on his eye-black in college, but how he chose to spend his college breaks. A son of a missionary couple, Tebow would forgo the normal college spring break by going to the Philippines to help in medical missions and in sharing the message of Christ. More than just his investment of skill and participation, it was his presence that made it such a remarkable thing. While other college kids were spending spring break at the beach, Tim was going to some of our planet’s harshest and most difficult places in an attempt to make a difference in the lives of the people there in some small way. That is why he was there, why he had come. And the impact his young life had there was not just because of why he came—it was in the reality that he came. It was not simply why Tebow was there, but also that he was there. This Tuesday, on Christmas day, we will celebrate an infinitely more significant arrival with an eternally more vital mission. In Matthew 1, when the angel informed Joseph that his fiancée, Mary, was pregnant with the Son of God, we receive a critical piece of information:

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” (vv.22-23).

Immanuel. God with us. Those extraordinary words echo through the centuries to remind us why Christmas is so much more than a cute story about a baby in a manger. It is so much more than just a tale of shepherds and wise men. It is so much more than just a tale of kings and paupers. It is the story about the One who came to live with us—and the One who came to live for us. To die for us. To conquer death for us. And, again, it was not even simply a matter of those eternal things He had come to do. It was that He had come to us—to be in our midst. To live in the dirt of our world. To experience the pain, heartache, loss, and trials that we face. To be here—with us. Christmas day can be about many things. But it is mostly about one thing—God with us. That is why we celebrate. From the Sports Spectrum team, may you and yours have a truly blessed Christmas in the name of Immanuel!   Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain