“They will call him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'” (Matthew 1:23)
What is the one thing that most of us want when everything seems to be falling apart around us? I don’t think I would be alone in saying I am looking for a friend. I am looking for someone who loves me to commiserate with or a shoulder to cry on. I am desperate for someone to tell me that everything is going to be ok, even if they don’t believe it or see how that ever could be. We are looking for comfort in companionship.
Of all of the names that Jesus has in the Bible, one of my very favorite is Emmanuel. The reason? God is with me. No matter what I face today or tomorrow. God is by my side through every bit of it.
This is what makes the Christmas story so beautiful. ”And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory. the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1 :14) God sent Jesus to Earth to humble himself. The world has never witnessed a more genuine act of self-humbling. So completely did our Lord humble Himself that He surrendered His will to the will of His Father in heaven. His desire was to do the will of the Father, therefore He could testify, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). It was humiliation for the eternal Son of God to become flesh in a stable, and then to dwell in a humble home in subjection to a human parent. God was ”sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin” (Romans 8:30). Only eternity will reveal the depth of meaning for Him and for us found in those words, ” He humbled Himself.”
Isaiah 43:2 says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Notice in this verse it says when you face trouble, not if.
We are going to have bad days, weeks, years even. Christmastime is no exception. In fact, emotions are magnified during this season making our highs higher and our lows lower. The question is when you find yourself hurting, where do you turn?
We all face trials, hurts, suffering and Jesus understands our journey through these deep waters. During His days here on Earth, Jesus himself was tired, lonely, hurt, hated, beaten, rejected, persecuted, misunderstood and mistreated, mocked and laughed at, betrayed, temped, and condemned. He has felt forsaken, lost loved ones, and experienced pain. He understands how it feels to be separated from God. Imagine Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. It is late at night, Jesus is walking His own dark path. He knows the time is coming for his death and the fate that awaits Him. Jesus says His “soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38) He is distraught, anguished, tormented.
Does your soul feel as if it is crushed to the point of death? Is your mess so big you don’t even know where to begin digging in order to clean it up? Give it to Jesus, he has been where you stand today and can relate to what you are going through. Look again at Isaiah 43:2 and the promise that God makes you, “…I will be with you.” What does Matthew 1:23 say Jesus’ name is? Emmanuel. He wants to give you comfort and hope and walk with you through whatever pain you are experiencing. He wants to be there for you!
It is why He sent His son.
This is what we celebrate.
The gift of “God with us.”
Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel.
Take some time today and listen to “How Many Kings” by Downhere and allow it to really penetrate your heart. May you find the true source of comfort and friendship we are all so desperately seeking.