In today’s first reading from Isaiah 7, we see the prophecy that is at the heart of Christianity. “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” The virgin birth. And the Gospel reading from Luke 1 shows the fulfillment of this prophecy. The angel appears to a virgin named Mary and announces to her that she would conceive and bear the Son of God in her womb. And Mary says, “May it be done to me acccording to your word.”
Emmanuel means “God is with us.” The very thought staggers the imagination. That the Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, the Alpha and the Omega would concern Himself with mere mortals to the point of becoming one of us. Why? After all, He is God! He could have chosen to redeem us in a trillion other ways. Why would God lower Himself to become one of us?
I think it is summed up nicely in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world…” You see, Emmanuel, God with us, is not about punishment or judgement or retribution. Emmanuel is about love. Not just showing us love or how to love. He certainly did that. But BEING love. As St. John says, “God is love.” Emmanuel. LOVE is with us.
Father, we thank you for Emmanuel, for sending Your Son, Jesus, to walk among us. May we imitate Him and be love to one another today. Amen.