"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23 (NIV)
The celebration of Christmas is a way for Christians to remember the good thing that God has done in the past. That is --to have given Himself in love, through the coming of Jesus Christ. Also to usher in the ultimate expression of love that will eventually come in at the cross.
While at the same time the celebration of Christmas is also to enact and bear witness to the Christian hope that one day God would ultimately and physically be with us 1 in the return of Jesus Christ to usher in the New Heaven and New Earth where John’s revelation says there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain –and that God Himself will wipe away our tears2.
For Christians living in the present the word Immanuel has great significance because Scriptures say that whenever people gather in Jesus’ name there He is in their midst3 .
As a family, a church and a fellowship of friends we can be certain that as we look back at this past year that God indeed is with us.
God was with us in the pains, disappointments, tragedies, triumphs and jubilation that we experience throughout this year. In fact, we can be confident that God was present in history to accomplish His will of restoring the broken relationship of His creation with Himself –the context of our passage points directly to that as we shall see that the Immanuel came out of a line of people like you and me, frail, sinful, and imperfect4.
The promise that God is with us is ours to claim because this Christmas gathering is a gathering that’s done in Jesus’ name.
Now as we look back to the year that has gone by and as we face the year ahead we can always look unto Jesus who is always with us –our Immanuel.
- Revelation 21:3 (NIV)
- Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
- Matthew 18:20 (KJV)
- Matthew 1:1-16 (NIV)