“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel– which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23
The Alpha and the Omega. The Messenger of the Covenant. The Author of my faith. The Gateway to my salvation. My fountain of Living Water and my Bread of Life. Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. Mighty God. My Vine. My Refuge. My Strength. My Rock. These are just a few of the glorious names that come to mind when I think of my Lord Jesus Christ. Each of them hold special meaning to me, but there is one name that stands out above the rest and gives special meaning to my soul, especially during the Christmas season – Emmanuel, God with us.
The true message of Christmas should stagger the imagination. The second Person of the Trinity, the Son of the Most High, the eternal Word becoming flesh so that sinners could be saved. Completely human, yet completely divine. Over two-thousand years later, I have to wonder if we really understand the significance of this magnificent gift. God with us. The birth of the final Passover Lamb that would save the people from their sins and offer eternal life to all.
In the Old Testament, we are told of God’s presence with His chosen people. The nation of Israel, including Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David, show us time and again not only how powerful and mighty the Holy Spirit is, but how personal and intimate He is as well. David writes of this experience with God’s presence in Psalm 139, “you know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in, behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me (2-5).” On that silent night in Bethlehem, Psalm 139 came to life to all believers. God with us. The gift that would lead to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” – a promise given in the Old Testament (Deut. 31:6) and the New (Hebrews 13:5) – a promise fulfilled as a result of the baby asleep on the hay. This is our antidote for the ramifications of living in a fallen world. This is our eternal hope when we are in fear of the present day. What sent the shepherds back to the fields rejoicing, what made the Magi travel hundreds of miles and risk their lives to witness, what made the heavenly host of angels sing praises to God that special night was the fascinating realization that God was now with us. The Christ-child that would become the King of kings and the Lord of lords was in their midst, and as a result of His death and resurrection, He is in ours as well.
I’ve learned over the years, without God with us, we, as sinful humans, are incomplete at best. A baby wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger brought all of us to absolute wholeness with God. Do you feel the power of God today? If your answer is no, don’t worry. There are many days when I don’t experience His power, but I know I have His presence, and as a believer, you do too. Emmanuel, God with us… this gift means He came to this earth to stay. Yes, His body left as He ascended to heaven, but His precious Spirit remained as a result. Claim, as His child, that every second of every day His Spirit is flowing through you and you are made complete.
This Christmas, as you exchange gifts with your loved ones, recognize the greatest gift of all in Jesus Christ, and allow His presence to fill your homes with the insurmountable joy and love that was felt that first night in a stable in Bethlehem. And if you want to retrace that wondrous night through Amy Grant’s song, Emmanuel, God with us visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sdghXzCdAY. I pray God’s blessings on you and your family.
Until next time, celebrating the birth of our Savior… Katie