Immanuel Means God With Us
Key Bible Passage:
She [Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:21-23)
Matthew 1:21-23 is the Good News in a nutshell–a great passage to memorize. The bird’s eye view of the Christmas story involves a young woman, Mary, engaged to Joseph. Both are devout Jews.
Suddenly Mary is pregnant (but not by Joseph!).
Being a good man and not wanting to shame Mary, Joseph plans to end the engagement quietly. Suddenly an angel comes to Joseph, assuring him Mary hasn’t been unfaithful–she’s pregnant by God’s power.
This drama is fascinating! God is at the heart of every story. We want to train ourselves to look for–and cling to–God’s character as we read the story beneath the story.
We can root our daily confidence in God’s character. In just the two verses of Matthew 1:22-23, we see God’s plan to save, not sentence, us. We see his lordship, i.e. his power and authority, which military folk can appreciate. Prophecy points to his long-range rescue plan. A virgin birth shows God as the life-giver. And “Immanuel” means God is with us. God. Is. With. Us.
We are not abandoned. We are not forsaken. We are not unwanted. We are not alone.
What about Santa? According to legend, St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop in Turkey who gave gifts to the poor, perhaps because the wise men gave gifts to Jesus. The tradition gained momentum and… now here comes Santa Claus! A gift giver is nice, but the Life Giver is best.
- Listen to Keith Green’s “Easter Song.” The “hear the bells ringing” line will get you in the mood for Christmas in this vintage 1977 song. You’ll just have to trust me!