Chaplain Ricky Williams:
There are many names and phrases used to describe the Son of God, all of which have great meaning. He is Sovereign Lord, but he’s also the Good Shepherd. He is Redeemer and Prince of Peace. But of all the many wonderful names you will find in Scripture, for me the most beautiful and amazing name is “Immanuel”. Matthew is careful to tell us that it means “God with us”.
Every other religion, through which mankind tries to express their journey to find God, is an expression of man’s search after his creator. The heart of the Christian message is that God came to seek us out! When Jesus the Son of God, walked this earth we were able to see and experience the character and nature of God Himself. Jesus was the literal fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy. He was GOD WITH US! Mankind had the incredible privilege of seeing the evidence for God firsthand.
And the Gospel writers told us all about it. These are their first hand accounts of a life-changing experience. They walked with Him, talked with Him, shared so much with Him. He was the real thing, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. He was Immanuel.
But the miracle of the Christmas story is not that He was Immanuel, but that He is Immanuel – today. And as John reminded us in his Gospel, as many as receive Him have the right to become children of God, and that includes you and me (John 1:12). For those who have come to know Him, Jesus is constantly Immanuel – God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. We can be utterly secure in knowing that the God who made the universe cares enough about each one of us to walk with us through every season of life, whatever we are going through just now. I just love this amazing Christmas message.