Seeking Emmanuel

This will be my last post until after the New Year. We'll be traveling and enjoying some much needed family time. I hope you all have a peaceful and blessed Christmas :)


(Cross-posted at Moms In The Right)

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:23

Am I the only one who reads this passage and thinks, "Wow...God...With...Us!"

During this time of year, there's always lots of talk about the "true meaning of Christmas". What does that mean to you, personally? I think if we asked folks on the street this question we'd get lots of answers like, "It's about being with family" or "It's about the spirit of and generosity" and we might even get lots of "It's about the birth of Jesus".

Okay, now let's ask the same people who they believe Jesus is. This is where it gets interesting, don't you think? I hear lots of answers to this question too, "Jesus was the son of God" or "Jesus was sent to teach us how to live".

Yes...but there's very much more. Jesus is (not was!) Emmanuel. Emmanuel means "God with us". Again...WOW!

I think one of the most interesting things about Matthew 1:23 (aside from the bold assertion that Jesus is God), is just how clear that assertion is. Many times when we read the Bible, we're left wondering, "Okay, what does that mean? I need to go look up that word and maybe do some research to make sure I understand correctly." But not this time. It tells us that Jesus would be called Emmanuel...and then it goes on to tell us what Emmanuel means! God wanted us to know with absolute certainty what was being said. This is mighty important!

Jesus is God. He humbled himself to become a human being with flesh and blood...aches and pains...tears and sweat. He didn't do this because he wanted to know what it was like to be a human. He didn't do it just to give us a good example of how to live. He did it because being human and offering himself as a perfect sacrifice for us was the only way to save us from the plague of sin. He did it because he loves us with all he is and has.

So the real meaning of Christmas? We celebrate the physical, human birth of the Almighty God...our one and only Savior! With His arrival in the flesh, we could finally know Him like never before. And most importantly, we can be set free from the chains of sin. We finally have a real choice...the world and it's ways, or God and His ways?

In her book, Jesus Day By Day, Beth Moore wrote a passage about God's humanity that I found so touching:

"I simply want yo to be reminded that He was real. His sandals flapped when He walked down the road. His hair was misshapen when he awakened. He had to brush the bread crumbs off his beard after he ate. The muscles in His arms flexed when He lifted His little brothers and sisters. He had hair on His arms and warmth in His palms.

He was the Son of God and the Son of man. Fathom the unfathomable."

Fathom it, friends. And celebrate it this Christmas season. Rejoice that Jesus was born, and that he is the great Emmanuel....God with us.

Seek The Lord Sunday Participants

1. Vanessa

2. Ruth A. Stiles

3. Deanna

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Anonymous –   – (12/21/2008 05:53:00 AM)  

I know this is a really long comment and I could have sent it by e-mail...but it went along with your post...There are times I stop and think...WOW God became "like" me. He walked as I did, felt as I did, hurt like I did...and although God hurts in heaven for His people and His creation...He experienced "human" hurt.
So Enjoy what Max Lucado has to say...feel free to pass it on. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year...see you around Bloggyland in '09....looking forward to some great content. God Bless!

Just a Moment
by Max Lucado

It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment.

As moments go, that one appeared no different than any other. If you could somehow pick it up off the timeline and examine it, it would look exactly like the ones that have passed while you have read these words. It came and it went. It was preceded and succeeded by others just like it. It was one of the countless moments that have marked time since eternity became measurable.

But in reality, that particular moment was like none other. For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred. God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb.

The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl.

God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created.

God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother.

God had come near.

He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty.

For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt. He felt weak. He grew weary. He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to wooing women. He got colds, burped, and had body odor. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired. And his head ached.

To think of Jesus in such a light is—well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It’s not something we like to do; it’s uncomfortable. It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Pretend he never snored or blew his nose or hit his thumb with a hammer.

He’s easier to stomach that way. There is something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable.

But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake, don’t. Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.

It all happened in a moment. In one moment … a most remarkable moment. The Word became flesh.

There will be another. The world will see another instantaneous transformation. You see, in becoming man, God made it possible for man to see God. When Jesus went home he left the back door open. As a result, “we will all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” (1 Corinthians 15:51–52)

The first moment of transformation went unnoticed by the world. But you can bet your sweet September that the second one won’t. The next time you use the phrase “just a moment, … ” remember that’s all the time it will take to change this world.

God Came Near
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006) Max Lucado

nomore  – (12/22/2008 08:19:00 AM)  

I missed Seek the Lord Sunday yesterday,... but better late than never, right? :O)

My heart was has been thinking a lot about Mary this year for some reason... maybe because my son is getting older and so BIG! Mary was a trusting devout servant of the Lord even knowing that her son was Christ the Savior! (I have "issues" trying to remind myself that my son indeed is God's property 1st before he ever became mine to love and raise.

Have a good Christmas and see you in 'blog world' later:O)

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