Author Ann Spangler reminds us about the history and context of the name for Jesus Immanuel. “The name Immanuel first appears in Isaiah 7:14 as part of a prophetic word that Isaiah spoke to King Ahaz of Judah urging the king to trust in the Lord for salvation and security during a trying time for the land of Judah. Matthew’s Gospel recalls Isaiah’s prophecy, applying it to the child who would be born of Mary, the virgin betrothed to Joseph.
The sign given hundreds of years earlier to an apostate king was meant for all God’s people. In fact the Bible is nothing if not the story of God’s persistent desire to dwell with his people. In Jesus, God would succeed in a unique way, becoming a man in order to save the world not from the outside, but from the inside. Immanuel, God with us, to rescue, redeem, and restore our relationship with him.”
Just like Jesus into this world and into the lives of Mary and Jospeh in a real and transformational way, each Christmas we are reminded of the ways that Jesus enters each of our lives in a real and transformational way. He enters our lives as Emmanuel, “God with us”, and in doing so seeks to rescue us from our own humanity and the difficulties of this world, to redeem us from our own sin, anger, isolation, and restore us to right community with God and neighbor.
Each Christmas is an opportunity to invite Emmanuel into your heart again. My prayer for each of us this Christmas is that we might know the real and transformative presence of Jesus.
Rev. Will Lauderback
Published on Thursday, December 15, 2016 @ 8:40 AM EDT