When Moses met with God, his face glowed. His life was a testament to the power of “Yes.” Every time God asked him to do something, he did it. Because of his obedience, a million slaves were freed, fed and led to a land where history has been made repeatedly.
But that shiny face, it made people nervous. They said, “Hey Moses! We pitched in and bought a lovely bag for you. Try it on—oh, it fits your head perfectly! You look so fashionable! Now, wear it whenever you leave God’s tent.” (My dramatization of Exodus 34:29-35)
For centuries, maybe longer, people allowed a few devout men talk to God for them. God was “Other,” mysterious and scary. In the beginning, Adam and Eve walked daily in the Garden of Eden, but generations had passed. The world had forgotten we were specifically built for companionship with our Maker.
Then in one night, God ceased to be “Other.” He became family, raising a son with us.
Isaiah 7: 14-15 ESV 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.[h] 15 He shall eat curds and honey when He knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. (That means he’ll be choosing right over wrong while He’s still a toddler.)
Philippians 2: 6-7 ESV 6 (Jesus), though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men.
Jesus left heaven’s glory and relied on a teenage girl to change His diapers and burp Him. He held her thumb as He learned to stand and let it go when He took His first steps. Joseph taught Him to saw a straight line and hammer a nail without sending it flying.
Immanuel means “God with us.” God, sharing our vulnerable experience. The concept falls like a feather on my heart. My noisy inner voices hold their breath to hear it land.
Isaiah said the virgin’s son would also be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, whose kingdom would have no end. The angel who appeared to Mary told her to call Him Jesus, which means “God Saves” and said His kingdom would have no end. Of all these names, I’m ever grateful for the saving part, and I find frequent help in His wonderful counseling and peace. Knowing I’m eternal and part of a kingdom without end, that makes me feel better when I find myself racing through life. “Immanuel” though—that one gets to my deepest parts.
Immanuel. God with us, reasoning with us, rising early and staying up late. God with us, listening to our cries, calmly confronting our accusers, working miracles and saying, “You’re forgiven. Now knock it off,” when we were caught in sin. Occasionally taking a nap on a boat, so tired a violent storm couldn’t wake Him. Peaceful, compassionate, powerful, telling the wind and waves to knock it off, too.
God with us. Immanuel demonstrating the forgiveness, love and new life God had entreated us to accept for hundreds of years. We’d resisted Him, like starving dogs abused by the world, who refuse nourishment from the hand of a rescuer.
But there He was in a body, cooking breakfast on a beach for friends who had abandoned Him to cruel captors and watched Him die. Sharing profound truths, He inspired us to levels of faith we’d never known.
God with us, rising from the grave to say, “Victory is mine and heaven is real.”
John 1:1-5, 9-10 ESV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In Him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own,[b] and His own people[c] did not receive Him. 12 But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Merry Christmas. The world can be cruel, but Jesus came so you’d know your Creator wants to give you companionship, healing and a life that’s worth living. I pray today changes your life in ways you never imagined it would, and that the new year brings you life beyond your dreams.
If you’d like prayer, please leave a comment below.