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God With Us

Today is Christmas. A day when the kids wake up before the sun. When traditions are formed and celebrated with our chosen family. The day we have been waiting in anticipation for.

This is it. The waiting for the arrival of Immanuel, “God With Us”. When Mary and Joseph were visited by the angels, they were told of the baby conceived of the Holy Spirit, a  child whose name was to be Jesus. God Saves. They carried that name with them for the next 9 months. As they staved off whispers of infidelity and scandal. Through a slow arduous journey to Nazareth. And into a barn filled with animals and a trough when there was no place left for them. After the child was born, as Joseph holds him, he speaks his names, “Jesus”. He was finally here. In those tiny fingers, and tiny toes. In the cooing and the crying. In the mess and sleepless nights of a newborn, Joseph carried Immanuel in his arms. The Mighty God. The Prince of Peace. The Everlasting Father. The Wonderful Counselor. Jesus. Who chose to come down to earth, move into the neighborhood, in the form of a tiny, helpless baby boy.

Immanuel. God With Us. God with you. And me.

As our waiting for the arrival of Christmas ends, keep hope alive in the waiting for when Jesus comes back again. And while we do, let us be people who are bringing heaven to earth. A people of peace and Shalom. A people who spread the everlasting and eternal love and joy that has been given so graciously to us. Merry Christmas.

Matthew 1:18-25 (VOICE)
So here, finally, is the story of the birth of Jesus the Anointed (it is quite a remarkable story):

Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, son of David. They hadn’t married. And yet, some time well before their wedding date, Mary learned that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, because he was kind and upstanding and honorable, wanted to spare Mary shame. He did not wish to cause her more embarrassment than necessary.

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream.

Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else—rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonderworking of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means “the Lord saves,” because this Jesus is the person who will save all of His people from sin.

Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior.

Years and years ago, Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, foretold the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus:

         A virgin will conceive and bear a Son,
        and His name will be Immanuel

(which is a Hebrew name that means “God with us”).

God of all ages, in the birth of Christ your boundless love for your people shattered the power of darkness. Be born in us with that same love and light, that our song may blend with all the choirs of heaven and earth to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

As you light the candle of Christ breath deeply and rest in the Hope, Peace, Love and Joy of Christ.