Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Keep CHRIST in Christmas:  chrIst – Immanuel, God With Us   

As you listen to the music of Christmas, especially if the music has a Christian background, notice how many times the word Immanuel is used.   The word means, “God is with us.”   The writer of the Gospel of Matthew tells us about the birth of Jesus from the perspective of Joseph, the man who was engaged to Mary.   Imagine if your fiancé left home, was away for 3 months and came back pregnant and claimed it was God’s doing!    Matthew tells us that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.  But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:  Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”  And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”    Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew is telling the reader that Jesus’ birth by the Virgin Mary fulfills what Isaiah had spoken of in chapter 7 of his Old Testament book written centuries before.    Consider the incredible events in the lives of Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph.  Without the signs and announcements God provided would you have believed Mary or any of this?  Mary’s commitment to be the mother of Jesus and Joseph’s to be His step-father are tremendous indications of their faith in what God was doing.  

God was with the Israelites during their wandering in the wilderness and through much of their kingdom history until their disobedience led to their captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem.   Then He was present again through His Son Jesus, but He was rejected and crucified.  Yet someday in the future Jesus will return and reign for eternity as God With Us for those who believe.   How is your faith in Jesus the Christ?

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