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Emmanuel

Posted on December 21, 2020 at 1:00 PM

Dear Saints,

 

Christmas 2020 has lost much of its glitter for many. It’s hard for people who are locked down, wearing masks, and living in fear to get excited about a holiday celebration. Those who have suffered from unemployment and are short on cash find this season anything but jovial. Celebrating with friends and family and even attending various Christmas programs is looked upon with suspicion and even forbidden in some places due to the social distancing mandated by the powers that be. The panic over the corona virus has put a real damper on our traditional Christmas celebrations this year.

 

Maybe shaking up our traditional celebrations of Christmas will help us get back to the real reason for the season. In Matthew’s account of the birth of Christ he refers to the message of the angel to Joseph as a fulfillment of an ancient prophesy of Isaiah. Naturally, Joseph was having trouble deciding what to do with his fiancée, Mary, when she showed up pregnant before they had consummated their marriage. So God spoke to him by an angel in a dream to assure him that her story was true. She was, indeed, pregnant by the Holy Spirit with the Son of God. And this whole incident fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah 7: 14, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel. Which being interpreted is, God with us.”

 

The context of Isaiah’s prophesy reveals that it was a sign from God to a people who were fearful and helpless before their enemies. The virgin-born son is named Emmanuel meaning God with us and Isaiah further promises in 9:6-7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Clearly, the birth of Jesus by the virgin Mary fulfills this ancient prophesy that God is with us and that he is in charge.

 

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding our Christmas celebration this year we can be sure of Emmanuel, God with us. That same Jesus born in Bethlehem promised his disciples he would not leave us as orphans in this world, but would come to us through his Spirit, the Comforter. Through the personal leadership and power of the indwelling Spirit of God each of us can experience the love, joy, and peace to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Despite the growing darkness of the world around us we can rejoice in the fact that God is with us and he is in charge. And because he is we can have a Merry Christmas even in 2020.

 

John

 

 

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