What Does “Immanuel” Mean? (Matthew 1:23)
By Meg Bucher
When the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, he learned that Mary was "with child through the Holy Spirit" and would give birth to a son named "Immanuel" (Matthew 1:18 Matthew 1:23). "Immanuel" is a Hebrew word meaning "God with us" and expresses the wonder of the incarnation, that God "became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:14). Immanuel explains how God came for us, is here with us, and is coming back for us through Jesus. Jesus appeased the ardent anticipation of our hearts. The questions have been answered. The gaps have been filled. Hope is available for the world to receive.
Christmas Presents vs. the Presence of Immanuel
In a world where everyone has access to us, it can be a blessing to go unnoticed. Jesus knew the peace woven into the observatory silence of slipping through a crowd or standing at the back of a room. He was not an audience seeker, yet people followed Him by the droves.
When the busyness of the holiday seasons threatens to derail our perspective, we can reset our agendas by sitting in His presence. Make time to seek Him in Scripture. The best way to lose Christmas spirit is to make it all about what we’re getting and giving. Focus on the right Gift ignites the Spirit of Christmas.
A present is something presented, while presence represents the part of space within one’s immediate vicinity (Merriam-Webster). How many Christmas presents do we forget about, return, or get rid of each year? Christ’s presence is always available and applicable to our lives.
“That’s not fair!!!!!!!” My youngest daughter wailed. “You got a Lego girl the last time you opened up a square …that’s NOT FAIR!!!!”
Their argument over an Advent gift I’d given them to share put the never-enough nature of humanity on display. In the thick of presents about to hit many homes; and the dread of those who don’t have gifts to give; it’s vital to pull the true light of Christmas into focus.
Matthew 1:23, the first of many verses that connect the Old Testament with the new, fulfilled a verse written approximately 800 years earlier! The treasures tucked inside spanned an eighth-century gap, until God whispered, “it’s time.”
Isaiah, whose name means “the Lord saves,” penned, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV). Matthew, whose name means “gift of the Lord,” recorded his words within 50-70 AD: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:23 NIV).
How does the Lord save? Through the gift of Jesus. We’re not always assured the final witness to inspired words. A sign normally fulfilled within a few years took 800, unraveling the scope of God’s timing.
Does it feel off-putting to revolve an entire season around door-buster deals? Beyond ancestral traditions and surrounding customs, the Creator of our souls seeks to spend time with us. Our minds will remain elusively angst until we seek the proof we need to believe and unlock our hearts. Presents don’t fulfill human hearts; souls are satisfied by the presence of Jesus. Savior. Immanuel.
Meg Bucher writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, https://sunnyand80.org. She is a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, blogger, and author of “Friends with Everyone …Friendship Within the Love of Christ.” She resides in Northern Ohio with her husband of eleven years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle.
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