“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[i] for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ ” (Matthew 1:21-23)
Dear Friends in Christ,
A name is important. The name of a product has to make people want to try it. The name of a book should entice people to read it. If a manufacturer of a washing machine or freezer has a good reputation that name says quality and trustworthiness. As we name our children and our pets, we often want names that have a meaning and that carry the aura of friendliness, strength or leadership.
And what is God’s child to be named? He could be a Moses after the one who led God’s people to freedom; he could be a David after his great-plus grandfather who was king; he could be an Isaiah after the prophet of hope.
But God’s child was to be named Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us.’ What a comfort in times of crisis and stress – God is with us. What strength in times of challenge in our lives – God is with us. What assurance at our baptism and confirmation – God is with us. What peace during an illness and at our death – God is with us. God is with us always, forever, continually. God is with us, filling us, guiding us, comforting us, encouraging us. This knowledge fills us with new possibilities, peace, joy and hope.
This week, as we go from preparation for Jesus Christ’s coming to celebrating Christmas day, I invite you to remember God is with us, God is with you!
God of light, please prepare our hearts for the coming of your son, Emmanuel, into the world. Strengthen our faith, give us hope, and help us act always in the name of the one who comes into our hearts and our lives. Amen.
Blessing on your Advent journey,