Emmanuel - God with Us
Several years ago I was visiting a church in Tulsa, Okla. Shortly after the service, I was approached by a young lady whom I had never seen. She removed a gold Noah’s ark bracelet from her wrist, then she removed a pair of golden earrings and said, “This jewelry is a family heirloom, it has been passed down to me from four generations.” “But today she said, God told me to give them to you as a reminder that He will be with you always.”
I was reluctant to take her jewelry, but I realized her message was inspired by God and even today I still cling to this promise.
I also find it amazing how many times God made this promise throughout the Old and New Testament. I will mention only a few: In Exodus, God promises to be with Moses and then with Joshua. He was with the great prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
And then there was the Psalmist David who said, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.”
In Matthew 28:20 the risen Jesus ends the gospel by promising his disciples that he will be with them to the end of time.
In Luke the “angel assures Mary that the Lord is with her” (Luke 1:28). And in the Gospel of John we find Jesus himself describing His Father as being with Him (John 16:32).
These accounts give me a greater understanding of the message of Christmas. The message of Christmas is not about giving and receiving presents, but it’s believing that you can ultimately receive the very presence of God. The Bible describes Him as Emmanuel –God with us which is proof of His faithfulness, His righteousness and His presence.
My friend, the greatest gift for Christmas is God’s presence which came in the gift of life and in a person whose name is Jesus. This message can be passed down from generation to generation as a message of hope and as a reminder that God came here to be with us so we wouldn’t be alone.
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Carolyn Crow is a contributing writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org