December 25 Christmas Day Immanuel
Immanuel — God with us.
How do I understand God? Whoa. That’s a big question. Maybe if I started with how I understand this world around me, I might get some clues? I found classroom environments where information is laid out in front of me to be helpful to a point, but true knowledge — things that I remember, affect the way I live, and mature my thinking — only happens when I can filter the information through my experiences. Is that how I understand God?
The word “Immanuel” occurs surprisingly few times in scripture, but the idea “God with us” is present throughout. In the Old Testament, God’s presence often referred to his power or strength particularly in battle, but I don’t imagine Mary was thinking on those lines while she held her newborn. What an entirely different concept of “Immanuel” Jesus brought to us. To see God in person, hear his words, and see him live this life must have changed the way the disciples understood God. And now, through the Holy Spirit, Immanuel is with me, changing my understanding everyday. But not only with me, I see God in you!
How do I understand God? Through my experiences. God is IN my experiences. I feel a thrill every time I see the love of a child for her mom, the joy of two people meeting on the street, the peace between friends sharing a coffee break, and hear the hope that underlies so many prayers. God is with us. It is Immanuel that brings truth and light to this dark world.