Immanuel | Devotion #3: Still with Us
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader
The Holiday season is a very complex time. There is joy in celebrating our Savior with friends and family. The opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus can be such an incredible time of worship. However, on the other hand, this season can bring about many sad and difficult emotions. For many people, Christmas celebrations are reminders of family and friends that they have lost in their life. My wife and I have lost people close to us, and while Christmas is joyful, it is still a painful reminder of those that we have lost. In the midst of so much joy, there can also be sadness. We remember those that are no longer with us while celebrating the One who became flesh to come to earth and be with us.
While studying the different names of Christ, “Immanuel” really struck a chord with me. The name means “God with us.” When the Angel declared the coming birth of Jesus, he commanded that He be named Immanuel. What an incredible picture, that the birth of Jesus was God coming to be with us in the flesh. God loved us so much, that He wanted His son to come to earth and live with His creation. After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He ascended back to the right hand of God, but that does not mean that He is no longer with us. If the name of Immanuel is true, then God is still with us. He gave us the presence of the Holy Spirit so that there would be nowhere we could go where He would not be with us. Look at the words of Jesus in the book of John.
John 16:7 says, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
Though Jesus has returned to Heaven, He left us with something that is even more advantageous for us who are believers. We have the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. We find our peace, our comfort, our wisdom, and our power through the presence of the Holy Spirit. So when we are sorrowful, when we are lonely, when we are in despair, we can receive the comfort of Immanuel, God with us. The name does not mean “God somewhere out in the abyss,” think of the implications of Him being with us! We can live our lives drastically different knowing that we have the Holy Spirit of our God with us. Ask for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you, ask for Him to guide you, and ask for Him to bring you comfort in your time of need. Even though the Christmas season can be filled with sorrow, the joy of knowing that God is with us can strengthen and encourage us in our time of need.