“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted as, God with us.” – Matthew 1:23
Christmas is a most special and magical time of the year. Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan in their book titled The First Christmas gives us a detailed account of that very first Christmas over 2,000 years ago. The authors share with us that Jesus was born into a very tense and volatile atmosphere. Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph, yet before the marriage she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit with the baby Jesus. This certainly caused tension between Mary and Joseph. Matthew tells us that Joseph was going to break off the engagement and privately rid himself of the matter. Both Joseph and Mary were poor and lived in a remote city of Galilee named Nazareth. The political climate was also very troubling as Herod the great say upon the throne and ruled with an iron hand.
When Herod learned that Jesus was born and that he was the fulfillment of prophesy to become the Messiah, he felt that his authority would be threatened and sought to seek the child Jesus that he might kill him.
Suffice it to say that in this strained and challenging atmosphere God sent us God’s most precious gift, Jesus, the savior of the world and the Prince of Peace. God decides to condescend to where we are to speak peace, love and joy into our lives. Yes, a virgin shall give birth to a child. He will be called Emmanuel, God with us.
Christmas reminds us afresh that God is present with us in the midst of whatever challenges of life that we may be facing. Today we live in a troubling political climate where there is the threat of a potential nuclear war. There are those of us who are facing severe economic and financial challenges, however, we need not face these challenges alone because God is with us. Not only is God present with us but God is the answer and solution to all our concerns.
This Christmas allow God to break into your busy life where there may be trouble , sickness, financial challenges, and emotional issues. Christmas means that God has come to save us and redeem us. There is no better gift that you can receive than to open your heart and allow the Christ Child to enter. Open your heart today and receive Emmanuel, God with us.
Dear God, on this Christmas I open my heart to you. Please be Emmanuel, God with me. Thank you for your presence in my life as I embrace your peace and love. Amen.