Silence: Take a moment to get still and ask God to center your heart on him.
Scripture: 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14).
Devotional: Why was it a big deal that Jesus arrived? It was a big deal because God had promised a Messiah in passages such as the one above. Have you ever anticipated something you were promised? Maybe it was a gift that you were going to get at Christmas or a car you were going to get when you got your driver’s license.
My parents had promised me a car when I turned 16. It wasn’t just any car – it was a white Mustang. Yeah, yeah – I know what that says about me all you Mustang haters out there, but to me it was the best gift ever. However, I had to wait until I got my license to drive it. The anticipation killed me all year as I waited and when the day had come to drive my glorious, beautiful, white Mustang I had joy beyond belief.
Now, reflect on God’s people. They had been promised a Messiah who was going to rescue them and then had to wait 500 years. FIVE HUNDRED YEARS PEOPLE. Can you imagine the anticipation that was building during that time, but also the doubt? God’s people probably started to wonder if the promise was ever going to come true.
Then one night Jesus, the God man, was born in a manger to a virgin (that’s another blog post for another time). It was a huge deal. It was a reason for celebration! Not only did God’s promises come true (as they always do…just in his timing…not ours), but God had promised them Immanuel – which means “God with us”.
As Matthew Henry put it, “The Messiah shall be introduced on a glorious errand, wrapped up in his glorious name: They shall call his name Immanuel—God with us, God in our nature, God at peace with us, in covenant with us. This was fulfilled in their calling him Jesus—a Savior (Mt. 1:21-25 ), for, if he had not been Immanuel—God with us, he could not have been Jesus—a Savior.”
God fulfilled his promise by sending us the promised Immanuel – God with us, God in our nature, God at peace with us – so that we might rejoice, be rescued and revere his name.
Question: How does the truth that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, affect you today?
Action: Think of one thing you can do to celebrate the promised Immanuel this year during the holiday season with your family and friends and then actually do it. Check out this post for ideas.
Prayer: God, thank you for fulfilling your promise to your people. Thank you for sending your promised Immanuel, Jesus, so that we might have you “with us”. Help me to create a heart of celebration, joy and worship during the time of Advent.