Immanuel

“They shall call His name Immanuel, which means, God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Think of someone who loves you very much. Maybe it’s your dad, grandma, best friend, or sister. Imagine that person coming to you and saying “I love you.” It’s good to hear, isn’t it?  Now imagine that same person cupping your face in their hands, and saying again “I love you.” Which scenario makes the bigger impact? Which communicates the greatest love? (If you’re having trouble visualizing this, go ahead and try it on someone you love… First tell them you love them, then put your hand on their cheek and say it again. You’ll know right away which makes the bigger impact!) Love with skin on it communicates something much deeper than words alone.

It’s nine days until Christmas, and chances are, if you’re not too busy wrapping presents and listening to holiday tunes, you’ve stopped somewhere to look at a nativity scene where a little baby is wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. It’s a familiar story… too familiar, perhaps, because many of us make it to January having missed the meaning of the Christmas season. The amazing reality is that the little baby in a manger was God Himself coming to be with humanity. Ever since the Garden of Eden where sin broke the relationship between us and God, God had been trying to communicate His great love for us. He had worked miracles, sent prophets, and told us over and over: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). But with eyes blinded by sin and ears closed to His words, we doubted if He even meant what He said. Finally, in the greatest expression of love ever demonstrated in the entire universe, God decided to show us love in a way we couldn’t miss… a baby in a manger, God as a man, Love in the flesh. Jesus came as a human to show us love in a way we couldn’t understand any other way. You see, love with skin on it communicates something much deeper than words alone.

This holiday season, why not take time to read the story of Jesus over again? Immanuel, God with us. It’s the  miracle of Christmas and the meaning of love.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

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