Emmanuel: God With Us at Christmas – and Always

Slide1Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. The evening before the birth of the Savior. When God’s full divinity, became fully human, in a baby, born to a humble couple, in a quiet village in Israel.

And the angel said unto Joseph, “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

Those words were recorded by Matthew, a disciple of Jesus and a biographer of Jesus’ life – and he was quoting from the prophet Isaiah – Isaiah, who spoke of the Savior to come almost 800 years before that first Christmas.

Almighty God had told Isaiah that one of the nick-names humanity would know the Savior by was a name that means “God with us.”

Emmanuel_SQUAREThink of that! The Almighty God – the Exalted, Omnipotent, and Eternal – He who thought us up, and brought us into being – He who loves us with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength – He descended from heaven, and became one of us, so that He could be with us. Emmanuel.

Fast-forward now to the night before Jesus was to be crucified. He was sharing an intimate meal with His closest disciples in a private upstairs dining room. And He gives them this word of comfort:

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth…. You know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”  –John 14:16-17

Jesus promised to be with us forever. And He fulfilled His promise by sending His own Spirit to be with us, to guide us, to correct us, to encourage us. To warn us, to teach us, to help us, to strengthen us. TO BE WITH US. Emmanuel.

Christ with me in my car. Christ with me at the store. Christ with me in the waiting room. Christ with me in the quiet moments of the night before I sleep. Emmanuel.

Christ with me at work. Christ with me at school. Christ with me as I care for young children. Christ with me as I care for aging parents. Emmanuel.

Christ with me when I’m anxious. Christ with me when I’m scared. Christ with me when I’m tempted. Christ with me when I fail. Christ with me when I’m hurt. Christ with me when I doubt. Christ with me always and everywhere. Emmanuel.

Christ with us. Christ in us. Christ before us. Christ behind us. Christ on my right. Christ on my left. Christ covering us. Christ upholding us. Emmanuel.

As we look ahead to Christmas Eve tomorrow, and that blessed day of Jesus’ birth to follow, let me send you forth with these precious words of blessing and comfort regarding Emmanuel, God with us:

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn His face toward you, give you peace,
and remind you of His faithful Presence with you,
all throughout your days,
both at Christmastime, and always.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
Amen.

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