Jesus’ eternal name is Immanuel, and he’s our Immanuel because the name means God with us.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 8:8-10 And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel. Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to naught; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.
It’s one thing to look at Christmas and the nativity objectively. Many choose to do that because they don’t want to involve themselves in the truth. They might put up some statues of the nativity or some angels, but it’s a whole different ball game to say Christmas belongs to me. The coming of Jesus was all for me. All for you. His very name speaks to that. He’s been known through eternity as Immanuel–God with us. Even in Adam’s sin, Immanuel was. Believing in him is the key to being with God again. The first step in making that possible came from the Lord himself as he moved from heaven to mankind. He used his people to bring about the miracle of Christmas. He thought enough of us to provide a Savior, his only begotten Son. He calls him Immanuel. In Isaiah 7:14 King Ahaz got the sign for the entire world and everyone in Adam’s race. A virgin would conceive from the Holy Ghost and through that Immanuel would downsize himself. He fills the heavens but became a little embryo in the womb of Mary. Every human begins as a tiny cell. That’s the way we were but we have grown into what we are now. God became that little. He was born in a little town called Bethlehem. He loved us that much. No matter how small we feel, Immanuel is there. God with us. There is no enemy that cannot be conquered, no problem that can’t be solved. In spite of it all and through it all, Jesus Christ is God with us, our Immanuel. It’s not just a saying. A politician will come to a town, roll up his sleeves and say he’s for the working man. He’ll shake hands with babies and promise all kinds of things. He can do nothing. He is not with us. Only one is with us, with you and me: Immanuel. God with you makes Immanuel my Immanuel and yours. Sure, he was the son of Mary and his guardian father Joseph. He was theirs, but 2,000 years later I can say he’s mine!
Ahaz knew that Immanuel was coming sometime in the future. He did come 700 years after this. It has now been over 2,000 years ago that he came and then went back to the Father in heaven. We still have the Lord with us. No matter what is ahead, he is with us. If you look at Isaiah 8:13 it says Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. Many things might scare us, but let the Lord be our fear and dread in respect to who he is. He gave Jesus to us, not to take him back, but so he could be our Immanuel forever. God with us forever. And us with God. Life can be a scary thing but we can say “be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay close by me forever and love me I pray.” Immanuel–God with us! It’s personal and intense. In the deepest recesses of the heart and the darkest corner of the mind, he is there. In the cold of winter or the heat of the 4th of July, he is there. He intends to stay. He’s pure God, pure man. He’s pure love, pure faithfulness. Our Immanuel. Our Lord. Our God. Our salvation. We trust no other. He changes not. Salvation in our hearts reconciles us to God. Our Shepherd. Our Provider. He’ll lead us into the green pastures even when it all appears to be desert around us. He’s God with us. Our Comforter. Our Guide. Our Friend. You always have a friend in Jesus. Our Hope for the future. How does anyone think they can make it without him?
The devil will make his plans for us but it will come to naught. He may tell us how ignorant we are for trusting God, for coming to church. He’ll tell us it won’t stand. But it will because God is with us. If you get nothing for Christmas, you have the best gift now. He was wrapped in swaddle at his birth and grave clothes at his death. But he arose to be with us forever! The last thing he said before he ascended back to heaven was “Lo, I am with you always.” Make every day a day with Immanuel!