Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
When the angel appeared to Joseph to inform him that the Holy Spirit had miraculously enabled Mary to become pregnant and she would bear a son, the angel went on to quote the prophecy in Is. 7:14, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).” (Mt. 1:23)
How amazing that the God of all creation, the One who has this whole, vast universe at His disposal, chose to visit this tiny planet to be with us in Jesus Christ – the One who was fully human and also fully divine. Being fully human, Jesus experience everything that we experience: joy, sorrow, pleasure, suffering, friendship, betrayal, etc.
Because He is called Immanuel, God not only came to us 2,000 years ago in Jesus, but He remains with us. Just before ascending to the Father following his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus said to His disciples (Mt. 28:20), “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The first chapter of Matthew assures us that in Jesus God came to be with us, and the last verse of Matthew promises us that God in Jesus will be with us always. From start to finish, God is with us.
How fantastic that we are never alone. Christmas, 2019, is over as you read this. But there is a sense in which Christmas never ends, for Immanuel is always with us. And because He has faced every situation that we will ever face, we can be assured that no matter what the coming year and all the years after that may hold – pain, disappointment, celebration, loss, gain, sorrow, delight, etc. – God will be with us to strengthen us and encourage us, comfort us and direct us, for He is with us always. Thanks be to God!
Grace and peace,