Love: Week Four – Day Two

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14 (NRSV)

Have you ever been to a baby shower? Or maybe you have younger siblings and can remember the anticipation of the coming baby? It’s such an exciting time waiting for a new addition to the family. Perhaps this season you will receive a Christmas card with a new face in the group. I guarantee wherever you see a new baby, everyone is smiling a bit bigger. There’s a tad more joy when we add someone new.

This verse from Isaiah is a piece of prophecy pointing to Jesus. The young woman is, of course, Mary. But there’s something peculiar about this verse. It says that the new baby will be named Immanuel. Now, Jesus’ name isn’t Immanuel; it’s, well, Jesus. But we even have hymns that seem to refer to Jesus as “Immanuel.” So, what’s the deal?

The name Immanuel in Hebrew translates to “God with us.” This verse should read something like: the child will be God-right-next-to-us. This means Immanuel is more of a title than a person’s name. In Matthew 1:23, this verse from Isaiah is referenced when the angel announces Jesus’ birth to Joseph.

God-with-us is exactly who Jesus is. He is the incarnation of the living God. He is heaven come to Earth. He has made his home among us mortals because of His love for us. He’s not social distancing but right up in our business. The overarching message of the Bible is just that: Immanuel – God is with us. God says, “I will be with you,” to Abraham when he is asked to leave home. God said, “I will be with you,” to Jacob when he fled from his brother to the wilderness. God said, “I will be with you,” to Moses when he brought the Israelites from slavery in Egypt into the Promised Land. And God said, “I will be with you,” to Mary when she finds out she will have a baby.

So, if Immanuel is a title or more of a description, how have you seen God with you this Advent season? Does it feel like God has been with you lately? Maybe it has felt like God was so far away He was on another planet. Take some time today to reflect on what it means that God is with us no matter what happens.

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