In Matthew’s gospel we read of an angel appearing to Joseph who was upset by the news of Mary’s, his betrothed, pregnancy. The angel informs Joseph that the child Mary is carrying has been conceived by the Holy Spirit and this miracle is the fulfillment of the Word of the Lord to the prophet Isaiah, 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.” (Matt 1:23). God with us – what an amazing thought. The transcendent becomes immanent. The Infinite became incarnate. The Invisible becomes visible. The Eternal becomes encased in time. The All-Powerful and Ever-present becomes a weak infant wrapped in swaddling clothes in an obscure little village. Paul declares in his letter to the Colossians, “”He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God… For God was pleased to have His fullness dwell in him.” And again; For in him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily. (Col. 1:15, 19 & 2:9). Immanuel means that in the person of Jesus, God, who created the universe and who stands apart from his creation, who has no beginning and no end, has entered into our three-dimensional physical and time-bound world, is present with us, and has come with a mission to accomplish. A mission Paul describes in his letter to the Galatians. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4-5). May you experience the wonder and hope that Immanuel brings as you celebrate Christmas this weekend. Indeed, it is good news of great joy that is for all people… a Savior was born for you, who is the Christ, the Lord! (Luke 2:10-11). Merry Christmas!
– Dr. Gary Mathes