Thursday, December 11, 2008

Names -2

Each year at Christmas time I try to read the book "God Came Near" by Max Lucado. It is a nice book that has reflective thoughts on Christ. In the book I find a sense of how real Christ was when He came to earth. "Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a mere carpenter....majesty in the midst of the mundane." God came near on that first Christmas and He is still with us today.

This brings me to the first name for Christ that I have studied - Immanuel. In Matthew's account of the birth of Christ he quotes the prophet Isaiah when he writes "See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated 'God is with us'". Christ laid aside all His glory, honor and majesty in heaven to come to earth and be with us. That alone is worthy of awe but the rich history of the Hebrew nations leads to an even more awesome realization. Through the promise God made to Abraham and his descendants God was with the Israelites. He was present in the most holy place but it could only be accessed by the priest once a year. God made Himself known to Israel through His protection and guidance yet there was no personal connection with this God.

Jump ahead to the time of Christ. The Hebrew nation was awaiting the Messiah that had long been prophesied. God came in the form of a man from Nazareth, of lowly and humble means. His birth was missed and unnoticed by a busy world. Thousands of people were touched by His public ministry yet He did not trumpet Himself to the world, even His own disciples did not fully recognize Him. In human form Christ was accessible yet largely ignored and discredited.

Although yes it is Christmas time it is the story of Christ's death and resurrection at Easter that speaks of how God is with us today. Christ laid down His life for me and for you, for all humanity. His humble beginning was missed by many simply because they were not looking. Let us not do the same. "And they will name Him Immanuel...God is with us". God's presence is with us today through the gift of the Holy Spirit which is given to all who believe in His name. God has made Himself known to His people throughout history but there are no longer hindrances to a personal relationship with Him. What once was hidden behind a veil has now been revealed. We can be transformed from glory to glory. So yes the name Immanuel does have a lot wrapped up in it for I have experienced that God is with me.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

1 comment:

BigMama said...

I too find that during the Christmas season, I want to look ahead to the Easter season. While the act of coming to earth is an amazing one, what happened 30 years later truly brings me to my knees.

Great thoughts.