Beck column: Why do we call him Emmanuel (Immanuel)?
Time is passing so swiftly that Christmas will be here before we know it! My birthday was in early October and Iím wondering where the month went. I started writing this story last December and it was too late to get it published so it has been waiting in my ěunfinished pile.î
Some folks are already making choices about Christmas presents for themselves and others. A lot of parents use ělayawayî or charge cards to shop ahead of time. When my husband was living and we figured out for sure what one ěbig itemî each of our daughters wanted, we would use our charge card to buy it before they all disappeared from the shelves.
Sometimes the ěreal reason for the seasonî gets lost in shopping, baking, entertaining and all that other ěbusy stuff.î Have we given any thought to the real celebration and meaning of Christmas? Are we ready to celebrate the reason the word Christmas exists in our vocabulary?
The first six letters spell out the answer to that: ChristÖthe greatest gift of all and we donít have to buy it by paying cash, charging or putting Him on layaway. Christmas should really be about the ěbirth of the Christ child.î As a child, we did not receive a lot of gifts at Christmas and our church celebrated the birth of Christ through true life plays.
In reading a book by Rick Warren, I found that his family may have been one of the first to have a birthday party for Jesus. Have you ever made a birthday cake for Jesus and invited family and friends to the party? I have to admit I have not!
But the manger scene has always spoken to my heart anywhere I see it. I think that is the reason today that we all love babies so much. When I was a little girl, I always wanted the church to put a real baby in the manager. In todayís world, we are not even being allowed to put examples of the Nativity in public places. (May God help us if we continue to allow rules and regulations to determine how we celebrate the Birth of Christ, the true Christ in Christmas.)
Looking back to my childhood, I am ashamed to say, however, that I had never read the Bible and did not make all the connections in the verses about Emmanuel or Immanuel being our Savior Jesus Christ. As an adult when I started reading the Bible through and with the drama my brother Michael presented at Enon Baptist Church, I learned that Emmanuel means ěGod with us.î (ěMichael, I still listen to the message this musical presents to my heart. Thank you!î)
Baby Jesus in the manger was ěGodî with us. Many of us have questioned why God came to this world as a baby in a manger. I realize now that all through the Old Testament and beginning in the book of Matthew in the New Testament, God gives us the answers to these questions.
Matthew 1:23 reads: ěBehold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name, Emmanuel, which being interpreted, is God with us.î In a Bible study about the mystery of why we call Him Emmanuel and why God came down in the form of a baby, we were given the following scripture:
John 1:23 reads: ěAnd the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.î
Philippians 2:5-8 Paul reported Christís example of humility and in Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah prophesied: ěTherefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.î
Luke 2:40 ěAnd the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.î
I hope I have answered the question in the title but if not, read the Bible through with an open heart and the Holy Spirit will answer your questions at the right time in your life just as He did in mine.
In October I had an opportunity to attend a workshop for pastors at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The campus is... read more