“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). - Matthew 1:23
Immanuel - God with us.
The infinite, all-powerful God who spoke this world into existence is with us. With you and with me.
This reality is, in many ways, completely unfathomable. But it becomes incredibly real when I stop to reflect upon the historical fact and reality that 2,000+ years ago, Jesus, Son of God, literally entered into humanity and walked among His creation here on earth.
While Jesus is no longer physically here with us on earth, He tells us that we have an even more excellent gift in His Spirit that indwells all who believe in Him as their Savior.
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. - John 16:7
But even with the presence of God’s spirit with us, Christmas can be a challenging time of year. It can be a time of both sadness and excitement. It is certainly a joyful time for many, but the unending challenges and trials of life do not take a break simply because it’s Christmas.
John Piper highlights the juxtaposition of these two realities by reminding Christians that while we get to celebrate the reality of Jesus coming to earth and now indwelling us, we still await His final coming once and for all.
He explains, “When Emmanuel arrives — when the Dayspring rises — we learn that redemption has only begun. To be sure, it is a magnificent only. The final blood is shed. The debt is paid. Forgiveness is purchased. God’s wrath is removed. Adoption is secured. The down payment is in the bank. The first fruits of harvest are in the barn. The future is sure. The joy is great. But the end is not yet.
Death still snatches away. Disease still makes us miserable. Calamity still strikes. Satan still prowls. Flesh still wars against the Spirit. Sin still indwells. And we still “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). We still “wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7). We still wait for final deliverance “from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). We still “wait for the hope of righteousness” (Galatians 5:5). The longing continues.”
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas season, we get to rejoice in what He has already accomplished for us while also hoping and looking forward to what He has promised to complete.
The Gospel of Matthew opens by referring to God as Immanuel, which means “God with us”’, and then reaffirms this in the very last verse “I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
The trials of this earthly life may certainly continue amidst this Christmas season, but let us rejoice in the reality of His presence with us as we await His final coming.