“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
This is a familiar passage for many of us. Depending on your background, it might bring warm memories of childhood Christmas celebrations, or maybe it’s just holiday verbiage that had little meaning for you.
We must not miss the astounding message of this passage, however. In Matthew, it is quoted, giving us more definition: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
“God with us.” Let that phrase sink in for a moment. Not “God above us” or “God distant from us” or “God against us.”
What does it mean, that God is with us? He wasn’t content to watch men and women, made in His image, wallowing in sin and darkness. He wasn’t content to leave us to ourselves. He fashioned, before the dawn of time, a daring rescue plan. A plan that would have Him lose His life … only to take it up again … to pay for our sins and to give us eternal life. That is “God with us” and God for us!
Each December, during the deepest darkness of the longest nights, God sends us His message year after year: “I am with you.” He is with us in the Light that has come into the world, His Son, Jesus. His Spirit dwells inside each and every believer.
“Arise, shine, for your Light has come!” (Isaiah 60:1). That is the glory of Christmas. Let us never lose this hope.
Heavenly Father, even in the darkest times of the year and in our lives, you promise to be with us. That promise is celebrated in the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World. Let Him shine brightly in my heart so I can be a beacon for others. Amen.
By Rand Kreycik
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