Emmanuel. At Christmas time we sing with a resounding “O come, O come Emmanuel…” and it is written in beautiful font lettering across our Christmas cards. Emmanuel (Immanuel*) meaning “God with us.”
Many who attempt to say God is uninterested and doesn’t turn His divine head our way do not understand Emmanuel. The Creator God didn’t just create and wave Himself off, wishing us good luck. He is Emmanuel. He has been, He is – with us. He was with Adam and Eve while walking in the Garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). He was with Moses and the Israelites in the desert as the pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:22). He was the fourth man with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, as the three were in the fire (Daniel 3:24-25). He was with mankind as Jesus’ sandaled feet walked in Galilee (Matthew 4:18). He is with us, gloriously residing within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). He is the God who dwells with us, among us and in us – God is Emmanuel.
Fast forward to the New Testament, tucked in the story of the birth of Jesus – Matthew chapter 1: Joseph is about to take Mary as his wife, (according to cultural tradition, the engagement was a done-deal). BUT she is pregnant (Hm…) he, a good man, plans to dissolve the marriage quietly as to not disgrace her. Queue angelic messenger: Joseph is told to take Mary as his wife. The baby she carries is of the Holy Spirit. She will have a Son and His name will be Jesus because He will save His people from their sins. Matthew’s narrative continues: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us.” (vv 22-23)
God was and is with His people throughout history, but sending His Son, slipping Him into human flesh, all He was, all He did, could not be more unmistakably striking evidence of God’s presence. A sign indeed! God keeps His promises. The All-Powerful, All-Sufficient, Sovereign Creator of the universe does not NEED to be with us – He wants to!
Jesus reveals to John, “the dwelling place of God is with man…” (Revelation 21:3). Unhindered fellowship with God Himself, the thread of God’s reigning government is “God with us.”
So beautiful, so comforting – Emmanuel.
Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel… (sing with me).
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
*Why do we often see two spellings for Immanuel? The different spellings are due to different vowels used in Hebrew (O.T. “Immanuel”) and Greek (N.T. “Emmanuel”) yet they are indeed the same God presence, just two different languages.