Emmanuel – God With Us

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  Luke 2:13-15 (NIV)

Meanwhile …

Magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:1-2, 10-11 (NIV)

These were exciting and miraculous times in history when the foretelling of the Old Testament prophets was fulfilled with the birth of the Messiah. Poor shepherds and wealthy Magi were both compelled to journey to the Bethlehem manger to be in the presence of the infant Jesus.

Soon after these events, an angel alerted Joseph in a dream to get out of Bethlehem because King Herod planned to kill Jesus out of jealousy. Sadly, Herod orders that all boys under the age of two in Bethlehem or the vicinity are to be killed. When Herod dies years later Joseph’s family finally returns to Galilee.

From this difficult beginning, Jesus – Emmanuel (God with us) – would live to change the world during His lifetime. And after his death and resurrection. His love ministry would impact His followers so strongly that within a generation the word of God would spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean, including the influential cultures of Egypt, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and others. There was no internet, email, phones or any means of communication other than word of mouth with the Christ message often being introduced by traveling teachers for example Paul, Peter, John, Simon and others.

In our modern culture it is up to us as believers to use the inspiration from these glorious days of the birth of our Lord and Savior to move us to live in love and peace – asking Jesus to lead us to those around us who need Him and His comfort. 

Jesus, show us the way. Thank you for walking among us and experiencing the joys and sorrows our world. We want to do Your will and ask you to give us signs and direction so we can bless others. Amen.