The word “Emmanuel” draws me every time I hear it. The concept that GOD IS WITH US is almost too big to comprehend. I am in awe that God, who was already surrounding us, protecting us, wooing us, loving us and sometimes reprimanding us while still extending His mercy and grace also chose to come to earth to “be with us.”
Isaiah 7:14 — “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Matthew 1:18-23 — (Matthew, the disciple and author of this book, quoted the verse in Isaiah and proceeded to translate it for us). “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.”
The Greek words here describe an association that means “with us in very close association.” “With” in this context suggests a firm bond. And, we can take that a step further. Not only is He with us now, but He has been with us in the events of our lives leading up to the present, and He will be with us when our lives come to an end.
That’s Jesus, the One whose birth is celebrated this month. As the angel instructed Joseph before Baby Jesus was born: “And she (Mary) will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” God the Father made provision for us through God the Son so that we could receive forgiveness for our sins and not be separated from God because of those sins. Hallelujah!
Back in the 80’s, I was teaching chorus at Hartselle Junior High School, and a popular song by Bette Midler came on the scene called “From a Distance.” The students, especially the girls, loved to sing it. Many of the lyrics were nice:
The world looks blue and green
And the snow capped mountains white
From a distance
The ocean meets the stream
And the eagle takes to flight
There is harmony
And it echoes through the land
Its the voice of hope
Its the voice of peace
Its the voice of every man.
God is watching us
God is watching us
From a distance.