I love listening to Christmas songs whether it be on the car radio, through the computer at work, or on the stereo system at home. I have an eclectic collection of Christmas CDs. I begin playing them soon after Thanksgiving – but not before. You know how I am.
Some of my favorite Christmas songs are the ones that declare the name of Christ as Immanuel (sometimes spelled Emmanuel). You can probably hum and few bars of your favorite song right now.
Do you recall this one? O come, o come Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel.
One carol made popular by singer Amy Grant says,
Immanuel, Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor
Lord of life, Lord of all.
He is the Prince of peace, Mighty God, Holy One.
Matthew 1:23 tells us, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’). (NIV)
Immanuel, God with us. I can rest in that proclamation, lie down and sleep peacefully, walk with courage during the day knowing my God is with me.
I love discovering new things in God’s Word, nuances to meanings of familiar passages. Recently I found out the word Immanuel literally means “the strong God with us”. Now that gives it an interesting twist.
The strong God came to be with us through Jesus. At the same time, He showed His humility, strength under control, by taking on the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and found in the appearance as a man, so says Philippians 2.
- The strong God, able and willing to provide salvation – yet coming in the form of a helpless infant child.
- The strong God, not afraid to call a hypocrite a hypocrite – yet letting the little children come to Him.
- The strong God, fearlessly clearing the temple of buyers and sellers – yet allowing Himself to be touched by bleeding women and prostitutes.
- The strong God, speaking the Word of God with authority – yet speaking not a word in His own defense at the mockery of a trial.
- The strong God, calming the stormy sea – yet having to be awakened from sleep because His humanity was weary.
The strong God, Immanuel, is with me, with you even now through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. I am encouraged and strengthened by His grace to carry on.
Fellow traveler, the strong God is with you today. And whatever you tomorrows may bring, the strong God will be with you there also.
Let us walk in the faith and confidence that this one Word, Immanuel, promises.
” . . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20 – NIV).