God With Us
God With Us
"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
During The Christmas season we often read this scripture and reflect on its meaning. Most of us are aware that the person alluded to in this passage is Jesus. Many of us as well know that this title of Immanuel literally means "God is with us." So often however we skim the surface of what God is trying to convey to us in this name. So much meaning in scripture is contained in names. A cursory study of the names of many biblical heroes demonstrates this; Abraham means "father of a multitude", David means "beloved" etc. The names of God bare the same idea: Yahweh Rafa (Yahweh my healer), El Shaddi (God almighty). In this name Immanuel for Jesus we see His purpose and the reason for His coming: that God would live among us in our physical world; heal us, love us, deliver us. He would cause an otherwise incomplete and blurry picture of God's nature to become more focused and clear for people. It is through the lens of Jesus that we see tangibly God's heart for His creation as He mends us. He tells children to come to Him and receive blessing. He invites the sinners of his culture to eat with Him and enjoy His company, defying the strict religious sects of His day who were too "holy" to eat with such people. Jesus was a scandal of grace freely given. Even the word "grace" has lost its meaning and has become trivialized. Jesus defines its properties. He lavishly pours out love and acceptance to broken and crushed Israel. Therefore to us it is the picture of God Incarnating Himself into the human family. Embodying and clothing Himself with a physical body to demonstrate that He is indeed with us and cares about us. Not only is He entering into our world and changing our knowledge of Who God is, He also is abiding with us in our suffering taking on our sin and brokenness (Isaiah 53:4-5). He truly knows our pain and feels it infinitely. Jesus is not detached and un-empathetic to us. The mystery of the incarnation of God dispels this forever. What we may need to do as His disciples is to take time and reflect on what this means for us. What does it mean for Immanuel to be present in our lives? What does it look like for God to be with us daily? If this is a name for Christ how does this concept affect us? As we ask The Holy Spirit this and reflect upon it, maybe in the stillness Immanuel will be felt and made known? What will He say?