It is one of the most well-known passages of Christmas. You have heard it so many times you may not give it much thought anymore. Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
The child born on Christmas day will be named Jesus, but those who encounter him will call him Immanuel. The name means “God with us.” Jesus is the very presence of God right among us. His words are the words of God. His actions are the thing that God desires. He brought God to man in a real and practical way.
One of the greatest gifts of the Christian faith is that we have a God who comes to be present with us. This is a simple concept to understand, but also an easy one to forget.
When my family and I lived in Alaska, we were four thousand miles away from anyone we knew. We left behind our families and our friends from ministries in the Midwest. The one positive we had going for us was that we lived in ALASKA. We told everyone we knew that they could come to visit us anytime, and we would take care of everything but travel expenses. There was a hope that people would buy a plane ticket and we would give them a place to stay, food and fun during their time with us.
During our time there we were disappointed only to have two families visited us. One was my wife’s mother, and the other was my parents. No one else came to be with us. My dad, who refused to fly, for unknown reasons, decided to drive up to visit two times in the five years we lived there. It was a four-thousand-mile journey times two for him and mom when you count the trip back home. They did whatever it took to come and be with us.
The story of Christmas is one of a God who came from heaven to earth to be with us. He overcame every obstacle in order to spend time on earth in our presence. For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son to be with us.
I hope this Christmas you remember that you serve a God who came to be with you. He is called Immanuel.