Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, it was announced by the OT prophet Isaiah. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Is.7:14)
That’s an interesting name don’t you think? Immanuel is Jesus’ other name. In Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, he uses the name Jesus. In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”… “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk.1:26-33)
That name Immanuel has been broadcast via Christmas Carols in shopping centers all over the world for weeks now. Most of us are familiar with the name Jesus (and most of us hear his name used as an expletive every day), but His name Immanuel is less well known to us. The name Immanuel means God is with us. Theologians talk about God’s omnipresence, meaning God is everywhere present.
In Jesus we see what God is like. He said to his followers: If you want to know what God is like, look to me, for God and I are one (Jn.10:20). Jesus speaks to us through his Word (the Bible) and he lives in us by His Spirit. This is what Christmas reminds us of every year. But not all people know this. They think Christmas is just about baby Jesus in a manger… families getting together for a big dinner… and giving gifts to loved ones.
How can we help our loved ones understand the truth of what Christmas means? And the truth is that God’s Son Jesus Christ (aka Immanuel) came from heaven to save humanity from self-destruction. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (Jn.3:16-17) Let me encourage you to invite them to our Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services.