“Behold the virgin shall conceive, and she shall bear a son, and they shall call his Name Emmanuel, which is translated, 'Our God is with us'“.
Jesus was a 9 month baby who grew and became a young boy, then a teenager and a young man. He learned a trade from his earthly father, Joseph, and continued in that trade as a carpenter after Joseph died.
He learned how to frame a house, work long hours that were physically demanding, and how to choose the right piece of wood for a project. No doubt He dealt with people who had expectations, and with some who were delinquent in their accounts; who bartered and probably bargained with Him. He dealt with people who might have been disappointed in His work and others who were pleased. He had to budget money and pay bills and taxes, and generally care for the family as the oldest Son.
In other words there is no lofty illusion of identification with Jesus and humanity – He was the real thing! He was among us as a real person who, for 30 years, went through real experiences and circumstances of life. He understands us experientially and that was the plan all along. Emmanuel meant God was with us and not in some special privileged way but in the down and dirty aspects of life that we all face. People could touch Him, laugh with him, cry with Him. He had flesh and bones and did everything that humans have to do to stay alive – eat, sleep, wash, etc.
It’s difficult for us to think of the King of kings and Lord of lords as a person who dealt with life in all the ways that we do, but this is God’s way of saying “I identify with you and I understand you when no one else does. I will never leave you. Even if everyone gives up on you – I won’t!” What a great gift He was and is. Emmanuel is STILL with us. His Presence is real - as real as He was thousands of years ago.
Christmas is a time when people expect presents but the greatest gift we can ever receive is His Presence. Presents are often place ‘under’ a tree, but the greatest gift was placed ‘on’ a tree. Since the wages of sin is death, Jesus paid that price for our freedom. He bought us back from an enemy who trapped and enslaved us. That in itself is a great gift! But then He goes even further. It’s not just a payment He made but an eternal commitment that we would be together now and forever. “Behold I am with you now and even to the end of the ages!” (end of Matthew 28)
Emmanuel was God’s View of having a relationship with us whom He loves so much. It was His desire to be with us and because of Jesus, our God IS with us! Merry Christmas!