For centuries God longed to give a gift to His children. He started by giving it to Adam and Eve, but they rejected it by choosing something temporary. He offered it to Enoch, who accepted it and spent so much time with the gift that God took him up to heaven so the gift could become a visible reality. He offered it to Abraham, even visibly once or twice, and Abraham became the father of a nation who worshiped the gift-giving God.
Time passed, and hardships came. The nation forgot the gift rapidly. Although they still worshiped the Gift-Giver, they forgot what the ultimate gift was. So God spoke through prophets, constantly reminding the people of His gift, and of how that gift would soon be visible once more.
One day, He snuck in a message about that soon-to-be-visible gift in the middle of comforting a frightened king:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
But in the middle of the snuck-in advertisement, God used a code-name: Immanuel. More than just a baby’s name, that name in Hebrew code literally means “God with us.” Here, God revealed the identity of that gift He longed to give for centuries: “God with us.”
It was the greatest desire of the heart of God, and His desire still hasn’t changed. “God with us” means that God can live with us and inside of us. “God with us” was the gift he offered when He said,
“And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.”
“God with us” gives, activates, and ensures the gift of salvation that became visible when God visibly came to earth to personally offered His incredible gift! “God with us” is still the greatest thought on God’s mind, as He anticipates the day He can break through earth’s atmosphere and, in the most visible way yet, rescue His children and take them home and finally fulfill that longed for day. God’s friend John described it when he said,
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
But until then, the greatest evidence of “God with us” is found in an unlikely place—you. See, He wants to be with His children so strongly that He offers to live inside of them. He wants to change you from the inside out, taking away those things you hate about yourself. He wants to be able to live through you. He’s a shameless self-advertiser, and why not when He offers the most incredible gift ever offered? It’s the gift of the ultimate hope, the gift of salvation, and the gift of a changed life. It‘s summed up in three words: “God with us,” in just one: “Immanuel.”
O come, O come, Immanuel, come into my heart to stay. That’s what I want for Christmas, and that’s exactly what God wants to give. Will you accept the gift?
Timmy Baze 😀
Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.