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Dec 21, 2015 852
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
The Christmas story begins with the promise that we are not alone in the universe. God is with us. He always has been, but the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth in the Incarnation marked a new phase in God’s relationship with his people. Regardless of exactly what time of year Jesus was born, the Christmas story is a powerful reminder of the love of God and the joy of the gospel.
The angel Gabriel visited the young Mary. “Peace be with you! God has blessed you and is pleased with you.” Pause to think about the angel’s words. They sound extraordinary even to us, who know the story: “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
“Emmanuel” means “God with us”. It is a promise and a reality. Throughout history, God sent reminders of his presence.
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you (Genesis 28:15).
My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest (Exodus 33:14).
I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people (Leviticus 26:11-12).
God never abandoned his people, but at the Incarnation, something special happened, something that the whole of history had been anticipating. God removed the barrier. God became a man. He “reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel (Traditional 12th century hymn).