Additional God Thought 12/22/23

'“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). '

Matthew 1:23

and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:20
I am the type of person who absolutely loves having family, friends, and people around me, especially during the holidays. I realize I might be in the minority here, but I love a good old-fashioned Christmas party. The kind that has oodles of appetizing food, delicious drinks, decadent desserts, Johnny Mathis on the turntable, and colorful lights twinkling merrily around the tree and on the mantle.

I crave the comfort and camaraderie that come with rubbing shoulders, engaging in conversation, and finding ridiculous things to laugh heartily about. Whether it’s my wife, daughter, a close friend, or even just an acquaintance, having flesh-and-blood folks around gives me a particular kind of joy as well as a reminder of the promise that God will “never leave...nor forsake [me]” (Heb. 13:5).

Reflect with me for a moment on today’s passage from Matthew. Think about the name of Jesus—Immanuel—and the kind of hope His name promises to us from this prophecy in the book of Isaiah. It is astoundingly warm and inviting, isn’t it?

Of all the things that could be said about Jesus, the one thing in particular that Matthew mentions about the name of Jesus is that it’s a name indicating His closeness to us. Given the endless adjectives that could have been used to describe Jesus, this is significant. This is not just “almighty God from heaven,” “second person of the Trinity,” or “Creator of the universe” Jesus, but “the God who is with us.” Those other names we have to describe Jesus are good and true and need to become ingrained in our hearts so that we have the fullest picture possible of the person and work of Jesus. But every year, when Christmas comes around like clockwork, the name of Jesus we are reminded of most is Immanuel, which means “God with us.”

God, in His steadfast love, new morning mercies, and grace upon grace, didn’t only send us a powerful King to be Ruler over our lives. He didn’t only send a Savior to atone for our sins. He didn’t only send us a Son who made peace for us with God before packing His bags and returning to His heavenly abode to kick up his feet for all eternity. God sent us a person with a name who committed Himself to His followers to the degree that He said, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20, emphasis added).

You don’t only have a God; you have Immanuel, the God who is with you.

So Merry Christmas, if there ever was one. And there is.
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