December 19, 2010, Fourth Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Matthew 1:22-23
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child. She will get birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means God is with us.”
You can almost hear the words from John M. Neale’s Christmas classic “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” ringing from this passage. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
Matthew quotes Isaiah in this narration of the angel visiting Joseph, Mary’s soon-to-be husband. Joseph was wanting to divorce Mary after learning she was pregnant, but the angel came in a dream and said that this child is from the Holy Spirit, and will be the long awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world.
Reflect on the name Immanuel today. The name means God is with us. It is easy to act today as if God is distant, as if God is not concerned about our needs, or what we are going through. We like to think that God is in distant heaven, and only is concerned about things when we die.
But, the Incarnation of Christ, his birth, should point us to the greater reality. God is indeed with us! He is there with us. He walks along side us. Even more, God knows what it means to be human. He has felt the pains. He has felt the joy. He has felt the emotions we feel.
What does it mean for you, today, that God is indeed with you? How does that focus you on this day? May it inspire us to rejoice that God has not forsaken us, but is here with us.
Lord, we rejoice that you came to be with us in Christ Jesus. That you gave us your son who walked among us. You are here with us today through the Holy Spirit. Lead, guide, and direct us, Father, as we go through this day. In Christ’s Name, Amen.