The God who is with us

Posted: December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Ἐμμανουήλ

That’s a little more than the Greek word of the day.  That word (Ἐμμανουήλ) is the word that we translate as Emmanuel.  In Scripture, it has a definition that has the power to change everything.  No, I’m not being overly dramatic. I mean it has the power to change EVERYTHING.

It means, “God with us.”

And so much is packed into a work that only appears in the words of the prophet Isaiah (as Immanuel) and then again Matthew 1:23 as Isaiah is quoted in the New Testament.

Here’s the way it appears in Matthew 1:23: Look! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, And they will call him, Emmanuel. (CEB)

The concept of “God with us” isn’t just limited to a couple of words from a prophet, a quote in the New Testament and the song that we sing during Advent (O Come O Come Emmanuel).  The idea of “God with us” begins in the opening words of Scripture and flows through the entirety of God’s love letter to us that we call the Bible.

In Genesis, in the Garden, God is with us.  In Egypt during the famine, God is with us. In the wilderness journey, God is with us. In the Promised Land, God is with us.  In the struggles to be like other nations and to have kings, God is with us.  In the times when it all falls apart, when the wheels come off, when we end up in exile — God is with us.

In the silent times, when we wonder whether we’ve messed it up so much that God has forgotten about us, God is still with us.  In the promise of salvation and forgiveness, of redemption and atonement, God is with us.  When we mess it up so much that we can’t get back to where we need to be on our own, God is with us.

In the birth of a savior, born in the most humble of places, to a set of couple of poor teenagers, God is with us.  To the downcast and the downtrodden, to the hopeless and the forgotten, God is with us.

In the darkest Friday of human history, the mourning of a Saturday and the power of resurrection that comes on a Sunday morning, God is with us.

In the mission to “go and make” disciples of Jesus Christ to change the world, God is with us.

In the moments when our light seems to slight to hold back all of our dark, when the problems we face seem overwhelming, when all seems lost, when failure hits, when the news knocks us to our news… Guess what?  Even then. Maybe especially then.  God is most definitely with us.

Maybe the great promise of this season of Advent, this time of waiting, is the hope, the confident expectation, of knowing that God has been with us, is still with us and will always be with us.

Emmanuel.

God is with you.

 

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