This time of year we tend to start to hear the classic sounds of Christmas. Whether it be the familiar Christmas songs on the radio, Christmas ads on TV, or the ringing of the Salvation Army bell outside of the grocery store there are many unmistakable sounds of Christmas.
Some of the unmistakable sounds of Christmas at church are Christmas hymns or advent readings as well as the plethora of words we only bring out at Christmas time. Emmanuel, is one of those words.
Emmanuel, which means God with us, hails from many memorable passages in the Bible but in this Christmas season we tend to think of it from Matthew 1:23.
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name
Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23 KJV
I love this verse because it is very quintessentially Christmas. It tells about how Jesus came
down from heaven as a baby and with that action He fulfilled the writings of the prophets as well as brought God down to earth to be with us. It truly is a beautiful verse and a beautiful name for Jesus.
It also is a traditionally Christmas verse which means it tends to be put away for the other 11
months of the year the same way we do with the wreaths and the garland.
This year however, I would challenge us to think deeper about the word Emmanuel and allow it to truly permeate our lives in a way that is drop and meaningful.
Let’s revisit the definition of Emmanuel, “God with us”.
Yes, it is easy to see it in the physical sense because the verse references Jesus’s physical
birth but the true power of the verse and of the word is in what it means now for us in light of
Emmanuel is more than just a word announcing Jesus’s birth but rather it’s a promise that God is with us always. Jesus’s birth, life, death, and resurrection are the proof of this promise. A promise that because of his life and sacrifice we now can live every day with God. When we give our life to Jesus, we are stepping into emmanuel.
When we face the difficulties, trials, and tragedies, we do not have to face them alone nor do we have to beg a distant god to come save us. Rather, we get to invite Jesus to be a part of our every day. To do life with the person who created life seems like an incredible way to get through the day.
As we think about the end of the Christmas season and about what things we need to store
away for Christmas time next year, I would challenge us to not confine “Emmanuel” to that box marked Christmas in our mind, rather let the God of the universe permeate our lives every day because He truly is “God with us”.