Day 17 – Face-to-Face Benefits from Jon Endicott – 2021

Day 17 – Face-to-Face Benefits from Jon Endicott – 2021

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Matthew 1:22-23

Fresno Pacific University’s first online program was 13 years ago. With the pandemic, FPU was forced to go fully online for all classes and most employees worked remotely.

But the online/virtual format came with obstacles. It can be difficult for faculty to really get to know students. Students are reluctant to make connections with others. It is hard to read non-verbal signals through Zoom. Thankfully technology allowed us to be functional, but in many areas we still prefer face-to-face interactions.

Direct connections often facilitate deeper relationships in our lives. If we worked online during the pandemic or stayed remote from our family or church, we experienced the challenges of feeling disconnected and isolated.

Before the birth of Jesus, you could imagine God as being virtual. God was real, but he used Scripture, the prophets, signs and wonders to communicate. The people of the Old Testament lacked a direct way to experience God’s love. The first Christmas changed how we experience God. The incarnation, God becoming flesh, means that God is with us.

The prophet foretold of this birth, “they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’” Having the physical presence of God through Jesus was radical. Jesus touched the sick, embraced the disciples and cried and laughed with us. God was face-to-face with us so that we may experience his fullness.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to be with us. Thank you for your great love, and your desire for more than a remote relationship. May we put our hope directly in you.

Advent Devotions

Jon Endicott

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Services