The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23)
God with us, it’s almost incomprehensible but the reality of this truth is the very foundation of the Christmas story. The Apostle Paul writes, In the fullness of time (at just the right time) God sent His Son. (Galatians 4:4) John writes in the Gospel that bears his name: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) I like the way the Contemporary English Versions expresses it: The Word became a human being and lived here with us.
How amazing! The Word, who according to the opening verses of the John chapter one, existed from eternity past, is the Creator of all and the giver of life; the One who spoke creation into existence has now become a human being--the Creator making His home among His creation.
We tend to romantize, to glamorize the Christmas story; to reduce it to a nativity scene and sing songs about a silent night and having no crib for a bed. Bas we celebrate the deeper meaning of Christmas we come back again to the One who laid aside His heavenly glory to become like us; to live among us.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)
The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us he had to be made like us… fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)
He came, in the flesh, to identify with us, to live a sinless life so that He could make atonement for our sin; he came as God with us, to become our Redeemer. He came to restore harmony between God and man. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7); the price of our sin has been paid in full--we have been reconciled to God.
Paul writes...2 Corinthians 5:19…God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. [NLT]
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
He came, Emmanuel, God with us, to redeem us and restore a right relationship with the Father. God’s saving grace is found in the One who is with us. What an amazing gift! This is what we celebrate each Christmas and this is what sustains 365 days a year, the gift of His continual presence, bringing us peace and hope and joy, confidence and strength and courage! May God help us to learn to live more fully in His presence and to rest in Him!