Immanuel means God with us


His presence in the room was obvious. Everyone else was dressed rather formally. He had on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and a weathered baseball cap. I couldn’t help but notice him as I addressed students that day in a seminary chapel in Bucharest, Romania.

 I have no idea why he didn’t conform to the norms of seminary attire, but I do remember his name. At the close of the meeting he came up to introduce himself. When I asked him his name, he answered, “Immanuel.” I was surprised by his answer and asked if he knew what that meant; he unashamedly replied, “Yes—‘God with us!’” I’ve often thought about that young man and how he stood out in the crowd. Just as Jesus came to bring the presence of God into our world—“Immanuel . . . God with us” (Matt. 1:23)—so too we are called to bring His presence into our world. Jesus made that clear when He said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). 

This Christmas, we can give the gift of God’s likeness through us. When our lives reflect the God who lives in us, we can be different from the world, and that difference can bless others with the transforming presence of His love and grace. The gift of God’s presence through you is your gift to the world.

The word Immanuel, mentioned by the prophet Isaiah, predicted that a savior would be born of a virgin and would live with his people. More than 700 years later, Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled that prophecy when he was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Discover how God lived with his people as Immanuel then and still does today

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