God Is Immanuel

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
   “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
      She will give birth to a son,
   and they will call him Immanuel,
      which means ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:22–23 NLT)

The most beautiful part of Christmas is that it is above all an announcement to the world that God is with us; God chooses to be part of our world and enter into the messy, chaotic, unorganized, and unseemly so that we might come to know and experience his goodness.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”

The most beautiful part of the post-Advent season is realizing that Immanuel continues to be with us throughout the year. God has been, is, and will continue to be with us. “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Knowing that our God is with us through every moment should drastically impact how we live, not just keeping us from sinning but encouraging us to step out boldly into the darkness to act as his light. With the God of the universe walking right alongside us through the ins and outs of our days, we should know freedom unlike any other; this is not a freedom to do as we please but a freedom to radically love our neighbors, intensely promote peace in our communities, and exuberantly share the Gospel through every word we say and action we take.

As we move out of Advent and into Christmas and beyond, how does God being with you impact your day-to-day life? How should it change?