Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:23 (KJV)
I was asked one time, “What is your favorite name for Jesus?” My first thought was, what a great question, but, then, I was somewhat surprised at my response. Without hesitation, I answered, “Emmanuel.”
Emmanuel (or in original Hebrew Immanuel) means ‘God with us.”
I love the thought of God leaving Heaven to come to earth as Jesus, becoming fully human and showing us exactly what the character of God looks like.
Perhaps, that’s why I’ve been thinking a lot this Christmas season of O, Come, O, Come Emmanuel, an ancient hymn of Advent sung more than 1200 years ago in European monasteries.
On this Christmas day, 2017, I’d like to wish you a very Blessed Christmas, and leave you with the words to verses 1, 6 and 7 of O, Come, O, Come Emmanuel.
I’m especially struck this Christmas Day with the hope expressed in verse 7:
O come, desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of peace
Many would say on Christmas Day 2017 that peace isn’t possible and that the heart of humankind is destined to become only more divisive. Perhaps that’s true. I hope not. My hope is for greater peace and for less division. This blessed holiday, my prayer is based on Hebrews 11:1:
This Christmas day I ask for faith that’s sufficient…
to discover the substance of the peace and lack of divisiveness I hope for.
Help me perceive the evidence of that which I cannot currently see.
Thank you for your willingness to become God with us and for granting us the privilege of joining generations of believers who’ve never lost the faith.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel…
I hope your Christmas is filled with the good gifts of joy, hope and peace!!