Emmanuel - "God is with us"
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
We are blessed to have God with us! The promise of God through the prophet Isaiah is fulfilled in Jesus: “the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” As St. Matthew translates for us, Emmanuel means “God is with us.” By the joyful “fiat” of the Virgin Mary receiving Jesus’ conception, and the humble faith of Joseph to protect Him, Jesus came into our world as the promised Child. Joseph gave him the name of Jesus, which in Hebrew is literally: “He saves.”
God is with us to save us from our sins. God is with us so that we might be with Him for all eternity. In this way the two names of Jesus and Emmanuel combine to explain who the Messiah truly is. The promised king of the Old Testament prophets is also God Himself; God has come down to our level so that He might raise us up to His.
Knowing the two natures of Jesus, as God and Man, we now are called to be the People of God in a new way. We are no longer merely God’s favored nation among the many nations on earth. We gather around Jesus’ manger crib as co-citizens of heaven with the angels, with humble shepherds, and with the Wise Men from afar. We join them in song and proclaim to all peoples: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” God’s favor rests on us, we with whom He now dwells, and on all those with whom we share the Gift of Jesus this day and every day. We are called to repeat the words the angel announced to the shepherds: “I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”
May God bless you all this Christmas day and every day.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn