Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.(Matthew 1:22-23)
Recognizing that the birth of Christ created a condition of “God with us” is an important concept in understanding why Jesus took on flesh and lived as a man among us.
In today’s world, we have many ways of connecting with people from a distance. We can call their home on the phone. We can call their person via cell phone. We can send a text message. We can send an email. We can even still send a letter or card via U.S. Mail.
Yet, with all of these ways of connecting, if the person you are trying to reach doesn’t want to connect with you, it’s virtually impossible to do so.
Messages (text, email, letter, card) can go unanswered. Once upon a time, you could call anyone’s home and be able to talk to them when they answered the phone. But today, with caller ID, the person knows it is you calling and can choose to not answer the phone if they don’t want to speak with you.
So, what option is left if you want to connect with someone who has erected this type of barrier? You have to physically go to where they are. Now, we’re not encouraging anyone to be a stalker, staking out someone’s home, but rather to understand that sometimes your physical presence is the only way to overcome a barrier.
From the time sin entered the world, a barrier was created between man and God. Although some long-distance messaging still existed between heaven and earth, God desired a closer relationship with us, even one that would last for eternity.
In order to overcome this barrier, Jesus Christ (“God the Son”) was sent to be physically present among people. Of course, it wasn’t just for the 33 years that Christ was on earth that people experienced “God with us.” When He departed, He sent the Holy Ghost to represent Him and abide with us, creating an ongoing opportunity to have “God with us.”
For those of us who are blessed to have the Holy Ghost within us — which we received after being baptized — we should live our lives recognizing that we have God with us. Not in a prideful way (God is with me, so I must be better than everyone else) but rather humbly seeking God’s direction for our lives and trying our best to do what’s right and live righteously because God is with us. Would you really want to blatantly sin or disrespect God if He was right in the same room with you? Well, He is — God is with us.
When we reach the end of this life, it’s not the end of being with God, but it’s just the beginning. By dying on the cross and resurrecting, Jesus paved the way for us to be with God for eternity. No path existed that would bring us to the kingdom of heaven until that event occurred.
So, when we hear the name Emmanuel — whether at Christmas time or any other time — let’s remember that the event being recognized was the beginning of a period of time that would result in the barrier of sin being torn down and replaced with the opportunity to live our lives with “God with us” and to spend eternity where He is (“us with God”).
Praise His name that God wants to be with us!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.