December is here. It makes me wonder where the rest of 2010 went! But now that Thanksgiving is over I can officially start thinking about Christmas. For most people, that means thinking about what presents they want and shopping for presents for friends and family. I’ll admit it means that to me, too, as well as getting my Christmas cards sent.
But the older I get the less Christmas is about the giving and getting of things; the older I get the more Christmas is about the one gift that was given long ago and is the best gift of all. For me, Christmas is about Immanuel, God with us. And so I thought about writing a post about this most wonderful name of Jesus, but in the back of my mind I had this feeling like I had done that before. So I checked my archives and sure enough, there was “My Favorite Name” posted on Dec. 21, 2009. So instead of rewriting my thoughts on Immanuel this Christmas season, I decided to just copy and paste what I had previously written here because my hope this Christmas season is the same as last.
First published Dec. 21, 2009:
As Christmas is fast approaching, I’ve been thinking about the many names given to Jesus in the Bible. He is called the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Alpha & Omega, and many more. But my favorite name of Jesus is Immanuel. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. This verse is quoted in Matthew 1:23 regarding Jesus, and in Matthew the writer defines the name Immanuel to mean “God with us.”
When I look at one of my many nativity scenes, that is what I see: God with us. For thousands of years God tried to get the message across to His people that He loved them and would always be there for them. He spoke through miracles, such as the parting of the Red Sea, and through prophets, such as Isaiah and Daniel. But in spite of all His attempts to get through to them, His people didn’t always get it.
So God decided to become one of us, to be with us, to experience life just as we do. I like the name Immanuel because it reminds me that God loves us enough to be willing to experience all the pain, trials, and heartache that we do, to fully understand how we experience relationships and love. God did this in hopes that we could and would better relate to Him. Because ultimately what He wants is for us to be with Him.
This Christmas, I hope you will feel the blessing of being with God and of God being with you. I hope you will experience the fullness of Immanuel.