Advent: Day Twenty Two – Emmanuel

  • December 2019

All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” Matthew 1:22–23 (NRSV)

In a remote Chinese village, Sonamtso tells the story of three visitors from a distant land. They arrived unannounced one day, accompanied by a nurse working in the area who’d befriended her family.

Hospitality is a valued practice among Amdo Tibetans, so Sonamtso quickly ushered her guests into the living room while she prepared tea. After a leisurely time together, the visitors presented three packages—one to Sonamtso, another to her daughter and the other to her granddaughter. Inside each package was a beautiful necklace.

Overcome with emotion, Sonamtso began to weep. “Who am I that you would travel so far and spend so much to be here in my home today? And now you give me a gift? Who am I to deserve such honor?”

In the same way we might wonder, Why does God care so much for us, inconsequential as we may feel? Yet He made us to be His close companions, to live and reign with Him forever (Genesis 1:26–28; Psalm 8:4–5; Revelation 22:3–5). Is it possible we’ve forgotten who we are and to whom we belong?

In the book of Matthew, Joseph wrestles with the news of Mary’s surprise pregnancy. God speaks to him in a dream, reassuring him this baby is no scandal but, in fact, God’s Son sent to save people from the sin that separates us from Him. This boy, Jesus, is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 7:14). He is Emmanuel, the God who is with us.

Through Jesus’ presence on earth—His life, death and resurrection—God proves the measure of His attentive care and redeeming intention for humankind. In Jesus, we remember that we belong to God.

Emmanuel remains with us now through God’s Spirit. It’s this same Spirit who empowers us to bear witness to God’s love for every nation, tribe, people and language.

Are there social, cultural or physical distances you could travel this week to be a reassuring reminder of Emmanuel in another’s life? The world is waiting for Good News of a God who draws near. Is there a part of your life that feels distant from Him? Ask Jesus to meet you there and realign your heart with His.