What do we do with our disappointment? What do we do with misplaced expectations?
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” - Matthew 1:22-23
This name Immanuel, God with us, is one of the most beautiful things about this season. And here’s why: your whole life hinges on what you make of this name. Without it, your life will be marked by anxiety and fear.
In Isaiah 7, the prophet assures the people that when the enemy inevitably comes, God will be with them.
Later on in the book of Isaiah, God comforts His people again with the hope of Immanuel by offering them a picture of what Immanuel actually looks like. Isaiah doesn’t promise God’s people that He will take their suffering away. Instead, Isaiah gives a vibrant picture of what Immanuel looks like in action.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
- Isaiah 43:1-3
There are two promises Immanuel sings over His children:
1. Immanuel will be with us in the midst of our suffering.
2. Immanuel gives us an identity that cannot be taken by the worst suffering
This is why we celebrate the Christmas season; it’s a picture of God relentlessly pursuing us. He shows up into human history not to give us the punishment we deserve but to bless us.
- Rather than punishing, He pursues.
- Rather than inflicting death, He offers life.
- Rather than cursing, He gives grace.
Emmanuel is more than a nice, happy Christmas song we sing during the holidays. It is a declaration of how far God is willing to go to be with His people in the midst of their pain.