One of my favorite Christmas songs is the classic hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel
When I sit down and think about the Christmas story and how God sent his Son to save us, I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of God’s love for us. In the Old Testament Isaiah prophesied that the Savior would be born, and “his name should be called Emmanuel.”
In the Bible, names have important meanings. Names call out the identity. I love to study the names of God, because I learn so much about His character. The name “Emmanuel” literally means “God with us.”
I grew up in Sunday school hearing this phrase so often, that sometimes I forget to appreciate the meaning. But when I really stop and ponder this idea- GOD WITH US- I am blown away. God, out of all the names He calls the savior, all the ways he could declare His majesty or judge the world- instead He says that His greatest longing of His heart is just to BE WITH US.
Christmas is the time we celebrate the physical coming of Christ to earth as a child and becoming a man, but even now our God is still Emmanuel. God still longs to be with us.
God deeply desires a relationship with us. He longs for us to call him Father and Friend, and acknowledge Him in our everyday lives. The words of that beautiful hymn ring in my mind. We can REJOICE because He is with us. We don’t have to live in captivity and fear, because God is with us.
When God sent His Son not as a prince or king, but a baby in a lowly manger – as Emmanuel, He changed the course of history for all of us. The only one who could come in power and majesty didn’t. Instead He choose to gently pursue humanity. To offer and sacrifice Himself for a world that would reject Him. He sought out the least and lonely and ate with them. God choose to reveal Himself to the world as Emmanuel.
I am so grateful that God promises to be with me. As I celebrate the holiday season, I am excited to be with friends and family and share in the joy of Christmas. Yet, the most beautiful gift of Christmas is with me all year long- God’s presence and nearness. May you have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our Emmanuel.