“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
This was the prophecy from Isaiah of Jesus birth, this was the first birth announcement I guess. It came approximately 700 years before the actual birth, but it was encouragement that, oh yes, He was coming! And the name that was given Him ~ Immanuel, was also encouragement because of it’s meaning ~ God with us!
What’s in a name? When a new baby is expected, the expectant parents bounce around boy names and/or girl names until they find the perfect one. The one that they think will fit, and sometimes as that child grows another name will come into play because of their personality. Well God was telling the prophet Isaiah that the child would be called Immanuel. That’s because of who He was. His given name was Jesus but He could be called Immanuel because He is with Us! Jesus is fully man and fully God and He came down to earth to be with US! He is with us all the time, in the early morning hours when I am sitting in front of a fireplace, reading my Bible, praying through my day and in the night when my anxious thoughts try to get the better of me. He is still with me, with us! Whether you feel like He is or not, He is there. He doesn’t change, He doesn’t move, He doesn’t say see you later. He is with us!
A popular Christmas song sings about it. This song sings about Israel awaiting Immanuel.
O Come O Come Immanuel and ransom captive Israel.
That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
These lyrics sing of a time when Israel was in exile waiting and the anticipation they felt of the coming Immanuel. But what if we change the lyrics just a bit for our own hearts.
O Come O Come and be with us God and ransom MY captive heart.
That feels lonely and exiled and hurting until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice God is With Us and He comes to Me.
At this Christmas season, things may be all right in your world. And I hope they are! Don’t get so caught up in the fa-la-la and the festivities that you forget God is with you!
Or you may be experiencing a first Christmas without a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling. You may have had a hard year and your heart is heavy. It may be a lonely Christmas. Take courage and encouragement that Immanuel ~ God With Us is with you! And He can ransom your lonely heart!
Verse 3 of this song is the victory we have.
O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave!
Rejoice Rejoice Immanuel shall come to thee O Israel!
The victory against Satan’s tyranny is ours to claim because of Immanuel ~ God with Us and we get to Rejoice because He has come! So next time you hear or sing that song, give it a personalization and ask the God who is already with you to let you see the victory He has already given you!