God Is With Us
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will name Him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (NASB)
This is the fourth week of Advent, the week of Peace and the final days leading to Christmas Eve, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and Christmas Day when we recognize the incomprehensible gift God gave us in His son.
There’s a wonderful song by the worship group Hillsong entitled “What A Beautiful Name.” The lyrics, sung in churches around the world, are both poignant and compelling:
What a beautiful Name it is,
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
Every Christmas season, church congregations sing the classic 8th Century hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The original text, based on a passage from Isaiah 7:14, recalls that Jesus’ name, Immanuel, literally means “God with us.” God gave Himself, through His son Jesus Christ, as the first and most meaningful Christmas present.
In Scripture, names are often more than just words we call someone – they are powerful, meaningful descriptions of the very essence of a person’s identity. Abraham’s name means “Father of Many.” Daniel’s name means “God is My Judge.” David’s name means “Beloved.” Hannah’s name means “Favor.” Ruth’s name means “Friend.”
God reveals Himself in Exodus 3:14 to be I AM, as the Lord, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Nearly 1,600 years later, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph declaring name of Mary’s son to be Jesus, for he will save his people from their sin (Matthew 1:20-21).
The name Jesus – Immanuel – is full of meaning. Jesus is the one and only true Savior of the world. Jesus is God’s Son promised through the prophets, the descendant of David raised from the dead by God Himself. Jesus is the very manifestation of God living among us, yearning for a personal relationship with each of us.
From the very beginning of Scripture, God has made His desire to be united with His creation known. We read in Genesis 3:8 of God walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. After Adam’s fall, the distance between mankind and God grew. Yet, the Father sent Jesus to renew that intimate fellowship with us, as He had intended. As the Apostle john writes in his gospel, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).
It’s natural to sometimes feel distant or estranged from God. Maybe we’ve stopped going to church regularly, or perhaps we don’t find time for prayer. We’ve all been there. Life gets in the way, and obligations creep in regardless of our best intentions.
Yet Jesus Himself makes it clear that God wants us to be in relationship with Him, and this relationship should be the highest priority in our lives. When we turn our faces to God, He turns His face back to us: “If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (John 5:7-8)
When we do this, God names us as His children. We’re reunited through Jesus into the great family of the Almighty. We’re with Him, and He is with us!
This Christmas Eve, as you attend church services with family or friends to celebrate the birth of Christ and the entrance of God into the world, remember that our Father is always there, inviting us home, beckoning us back to His table, longing to name us as His own, yearning for us to be with Him, just as He is with us.
May God always guide your path.