Originally published Thursday, 05 December 2013.
I sat in my mother’s suburban as a young 8 year old girl during the “winter” days in Texas. Music always filled the space in that SUV, a cassette tape always in motion spilling out emotion that I would cling to as a girl and claim my own. Some of that musical emotion would come from albums like Madonna, Debbie Gibson, Paula Abdul or soundtracks of the movie Beaches. I loved music. I still do.
As we drove around town running errands and preparing for our Christmas celebration, I specifically remember one cassette tape which I looked forward to playing every December: our beloved Amy Grant Christmas album. To this day there is one song that swirls in my memory and conjures up recollections and ponderings of just who I believed God was at such a young age.
The Song: Immanuel God With Us
The Advent Scripture: Our reading for today from The Voice:
Suit yourself. The Lord will give you a proof-sign anyway: See, a young maiden will conceive. She will give birth to a son and name Him Immanuel, that is, “God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14 The Voice)
Immanuel...God with US. ~The very Creator of the Universe sits on His royal throne in all authority--holy and set apart YES ~He is also the loving Father desiring a relationship WITH US. Sending His son Jesus to the world 2000 years ago He became our God WITH US. ~The Very God Most High, with power unfathomable who orchestrates the happenings of every inch of the Universe... YES ~He is also our Forgiving God who sent that baby Jesus to earth to die on the cross FOR US so that we might live WITH HIM--experience eternal abundance life here on earth and eternal fulfillment in heaven.
Though it would be many years before I learned to live out my faith and recognize Jesus as my King, a sense that God was always with me lingered and protected my heart. Just as we talked about yesterday, I love the continuity of God’s word between the Old Testament and the New Testament. What God proclaimed of old was fulfilled. He does what He promises to do...
Announcement to Mary
Six months later in Nazareth, a city in the rural province of Galilee, the heavenly messenger Gabriel made another appearance. This time the messenger was sent by God to meet with a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David himself. The messenger entered her home.
Messenger: Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! [Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.] The heavenly messenger’s words baffled Mary, and she wondered what type of greeting this was. Messenger: Mary, don’t be afraid. You have found favor with God.(Luke 1:26-30 The Voice)
Mary most likely a sensitive female--sat pondering this glorious announcement. Stunned? Humbled? (yes!)Do you think she sat for a bit with a heart stirring of Awe and Wonder that the long awaited Savior would be her son!?
Let us not leave out Joseph...
Announcement to Joseph about birth of Jesus, Immanuel God With Us
Years and years ago, Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, foretold the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus:
A virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and His name will be Immanuel(which is a Hebrew name that means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23 The Voice)
Do you think Mary and Joseph sat for hours together recounting every word the Angel proclaimed about the birth of the Messiah? Comparing notes? Praying, Praising Him. Recalling Scripture that was being fulfilled with in their very own humble lives.
In the heavenly announcements of the Savior's birth with in the Gospels, several names of God are revealed to the parents of Jesus and introduced to us:
Son of God
Son of the Most High
Immanuel--God with Us.
Through these name revelations, God enlightens us to two amazing facets of His character and nature through His name:
Jesus- God Saves---What HE does
Immanuel--God with us...who He IS.
God, in all His power and authority does not just sit High above in the heavenlys with His grand plans in charge of the world. He is also WITH US. Jesus came down to pay the price on the cross FOR US.
I wonder if there is someone who needs to know that God is with HER. God is FOR HER...not against HER. God loves Her. God sent His son Jesus...Immanuel for HER. God forgives Her when she loves Jesus as her Lord, Savior and Immanuel. I wonder if there is someone here who is experiencing joy and happiness in her life. And she needs to be reminded that every good and perfect gift is from above. (James 1:17) Her Immanuel...God who is with her.
Awe and Wonder
God is with us...He will never leave us...a promise in Scripture. BUT, there is work to do in our part of the relationship:
Seeking Him daily
You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart. I WILL be found by you. (Jeremiah 29:13, 14)
With Awe and Wonder may we seek Him daily in even the mundane. Instead of turning to a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to soothe our hurting heart, we turn to Jesus...Immanuel God WITH US to fill us up with His abounding love. If loneliness threatens our joy this Christmas season...feelings of loss, grief and despair... may we allow Immanuel to show us that He is ever with Us. When the busy-ness of end of the year stress at work, celebration preparation, shopping, cooking, entertaining keeps us focused on what we must do rather than WHO we must worship let us soak in His presence...focus on what is really important
May we live out this faith that God is With us and impart it on others as we give of ourselves, our time and our money to those who are in need...being the hands and feet and HUGS of Jesus...God WITH US.
~Father God, I love your name Immanuel (God with us) because...
~I am sorry for the times that I did not acknowledge You in my life...
~I need You with me today in these ways...
~Open my heart daily so I might be sensitive to Your presence in my life...
Leave a comment...let's chat! Be sure to check back tomorrow for Day 6!