Immanuel | Devotion #1: Anticipation
Richie Henson | Production Director
As a child, Christmas is all about waiting. After Thanksgiving is over, you wait to visit Santa in the mall. Then, you wait for Christmas vacation at school. Finally, you wait for Christmas morning, just hoping that the event can live up to the hype. Often, the anticipation or expectation of the morning arriving became heavy and burdensome. It felt that it would never come.
This Christmas season, I have been looking at the Christmas story from the perspective of a child waiting for Christmas. In Matthew 1:22-23, Mary is told by an angel that she will bear a son: “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’ (which means, God with us).”
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Jews had been waiting in expectation for hundreds of years. The Old Testament prophets promised that Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, would come as their Savior. However, as the decades passed, and the Roman captivity began, there is no doubt that their expectations for God to be with them became a point of anxiety.
Although we live after the times of Jesus, I think it can be just as easy for us to feel loaded down with the need for the presence of Jesus. We can feel in our struggles and difficulties that we are waiting around for God to show up. However, we must always remember that the names of Jesus are references to His perfect character. So, Immanuel does not just mean God is with us when we feel Him, or that God is with us when Jesus returns. Instead, we can know that God is with us always because it is in His character and nature to be present with His people.
Life is rarely ever easy, but we can live with ease knowing that Jesus is always with us. He is Immanuel.