Written by Joy Pritchard
“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” – Isaiah 7:14, NLT
“All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”” – Matthew 1:22-23, NLT
In recent years, I have found myself clinging to the hope of Immanuel year round. I boldly declare, “GOD IS WITH ME!” when life feels unmanageable, unsustainable, and beyond my capacity.
Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, and that means I am never alone. I can be sinking in a bog of sadness and anxiety and God is right there with me, on His knees in the mud, looking me right in the eyes, going through this WITH ME. He’ll hold my hand and look at me with an expression of understanding, empathy, and unstoppable LOVE. He is with me. He’ll hold me when I can’t possibly hold myself up a moment longer.
Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, and that means I have a cheering section for every victory. When something GREAT happens, He is there, rejoicing with me, telling me He’s proud of me. He is with me. He’ll jump and dance and shout with me in my elation. He understands these emotions, too.
He sits with me when I’m tired. He laughs with me when I’m silly. He understands my feelings and He’s always right there to feel them along side me. What a gift!
As we sing about Immanuel this Christmas season, take some time to meditate on what “God with us” means to you right now. Close your eyes and try to visualize Jesus with you in whatever you are feeling and facing right here in your current reality. I hope you see him gazing at you with eyes filled to the brim with fierce unconditional love, kindness, and endless empathy.
God is with us, Immanuel.
If you miss any of our daily readings, you can find them archived here. (Readings will be added each day.) We hope these readings will help you encounter God this season!