“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) – Matthew 1:23
I love the name Immanuel. It’s one of the names of Jesus and means ‘God with us’. And we never hear Immanuel more than at Christmas, when we’re reminded in Matthew 1:23 that “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
It’s beautiful to know that one of the names of Jesus literally means ‘God with us.’ But here is my question, how much do we believe that? Do we really, truly believe that God is with us? Do you really believe that God is with you?
I know that for me, it can be easy to believe God is with us. It’s easy to make God communal; God so loved the world and He loves all of us. But it’s harder to make him personal.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God is with me. It’s hard to personalise Immanuel because when life is hard and challenging, my first thought is, “God, where are you? Why is this happening?” I would love to say that my instant thought is to praise in hard times, but in my humanity, it’s not. In my fickleness, I want everything to be great and joyful and when it’s not, I struggle.
But still, Immanuel.
Here is the truth to hold onto: Immanuel, God with us, is always with me. He is never not with me. He is never not with us. We may not feel Him or see Him or hear Him, but it doesn’t mean He’s not there. Even when life seems like it’s going down the drain. I honestly believe that in the moments of heartache, God is closest to us, but we don’t always realise.
I don’t know who the creator of the above image is, but this is how I see Jesus. When we think we are sitting in our despair alone, He is in fact right next to us, holding us close.
I don’t know what your Christmas and holiday season has been like. If it’s anything like mine, it was very different to what I expected and at times difficult. But still, Immanuel. Still, God is with us; He is with you. So can I encourage you to hold onto that truth! Know that He loves you and is with you, no matter what life looks like. Because still, Immanuel. God is with us.
As published on ACW