“But while [Joseph] thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.'” (Matthew 1:20-23 NKJV)
Last year, COVID-19 restrictions made life tough for all of us. Here in Alberta, Canada, we couldn’t get together for Christmas with our family as usual. Our visits were limited to brief encounters outside as my husband and I delivered baking, and presents for the grandchildren.
One day in December, we gingerly approached our youngest son’s back door and stepped up onto the deck. Nick cracked open the vent door and peered out. The screen made his face hazy. One by one, he called the children to come and say “Hi”. The seven-year-old sat on the chair by the door with his comforting blanket to his face. He hardly said a word. “When can we see each other again?” he had written in the note left outside for us. Looking through a crack in the screen door was not a visit — not at all what he had in mind. He was the kid who would tackle us at the door, and revel in hugs and snuggles. Now, he was tongue-tied. He wanted “someone with skin on”.
We can’t see God either, and His ways are beyond understanding. When Jesus came to this earth, He was that “someone with skin on”. Knowing Jesus is the only way that we can understand what God is like and how to relate to Him. In the Old Testament, through Isaiah the prophet, God gave this child the name “Immanuel”. This was not a given name — Jesus wasn’t called that — but a designation to describe His nature — God with us.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 NKJV) — Jesus was God.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14a NKJV) — God is with us for the first time in the form of Jesus.
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b NKJV) — Jesus said that He would always be with us.
In this Christmas season, how can we make the concept of “God with us” real? We can be that “someone with skin on” to the people whom we encounter — the needy, the lonely, the hurting, and the ones who don’t know Him.
Prayer: Lord, give us creative ways to connect with others. Help us to be an encouragement, and by our actions, to show others what You are like. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, our Immanuel, we pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2021, by Alice Burnett <email@example.com>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission