His Name Shall Be Immanuel
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Perhaps the most important reminder of Christmas is resting in the promise that God is with us. Always has been and always will be (Psalm 139:1-18). Immanuel or “God with us” is first mentioned in Isaiah 7:14 then fulfilled in Matthew 1:23, always referring to Jesus - not necessarily as a literal name to bear but indicating His role in bringing God’s presence to man.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
A Consistent Presence
Consider the great lengths He has gone to in order to be with us. When He first created man and woman in their innocence, He walked in the Garden with them. When sin separated us from Him, He provided meticulously detailed instructions for building a tabernacle so that in His holiness He might dwell with the Israelites in the Old Testament. But, halfway is not enough for our loving Father. His abundant love for us set in motion the thorough and deeply costly plan of reconciliation that made full communion possible. When God dwelled with us in the flesh for the first time through His son Jesus, He did so in a manger. In His earthly lifetime, he physically sat at tables to eat with us and sailed in boats to weather storms with us. Now, He dwells in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Indeed, God has never left us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
A Remarkable Plan of Redemption
The birth of Jesus alone illustrates the remarkable uniqueness of God choosing not only to dwell with us but to do it in so intimate a way in becoming human Himself. For God to come into the world as a human baby born in a dirty stable was to choose the most humbling, approachable form possible. No other religion comes close to claiming similar. “Gods” of other religions tend to maintain an arm’s length policy, an “otherness” - as if by definition separation is required. Holiness does demand separation from that which is unholy, but our loving Father would not be satisfied to leave us there. He made a way to close the gap of holiness and bring us in to to be with Him in holiness - through His one & only Son. His presence with us is no longer limited by the restraints of a human body or our ability to be righteous enough. It is active and ever-present in our circumstances, thoughts, and heart should we choose to receive it through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). May this reminder of God’s constant presence give you peace, joy and comfort this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas from the LMW family to yours!