Friday, December 21, 2012

Emanuel: God With Us

In Matthew 1:23 we find a quote from Isaiah 7:14 that is applied to Jesus:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  While the Isaiah passage is given as a sign to Ahaz, king of Judah, concerning his current enemies, the author of Matthew sees in this passage a look ahead to Jesus, who was "God with us".

All too often at Christmas we focus on a baby born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago; looking more at the circumstances of his birth rather than who was born.  Yes, we recognize him as the "Son of God" and that he was born to be our savior.  But how often at Christmas do focus on the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke, with their accounts of shepherds, wise men, Herod, angels, imagined inn keepers, sheep, donkeys and drummer boys; and treat Jesus as just one more character in the story?

That little baby, that so many of us picture laying in a miniature manger among our other Christmas decorations, is so much more than a baby.  John says that he was the Word, who was God, and who created this universe, who became flesh and lived among us.  Paul says that he was equal with God, but set aside his glory as God to take on human form and die for us.  The author of Hebrews says that he became a man, just like us, so that he could become a faithful high priest.

This Christmas, remember Emanuel, God with us.  That child that Mary bore and delivered under humble circumstances over 2000 years ago was God, clothed in human flesh.  Like the wise men, come and worship him and give to him the best gift you can: yourself!

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