O Immanuel . . . God is with us. Isaiah 8:8, 10
My best friend and I are separated by almost five hundred miles. We chat often on social media and talk with one another on the phone, but when I have the chance to see her face-to-face my heart rejoices. There is something about presence—about being together that touches the heart more than a phone conversation ever could.
In the beginning, in the Garden, God and His first children, Adam and Eve enjoyed one another’s presence regularly. The Bible tells us that they delighted in spending time together “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). But sin forever altered that. Over time, the Lord instructed the Israelites to build a temple where He could dwell among them, though still separated from them by walls and curtains. When Israel’s apostasy reached a certain point, the Lord withdrew His presence from the Temple—and the people. But He promised His presence would one day return to them, in the person of the Messiah. That is the promise of Immanuel—God with us. And as He always does, The Lord kept His promise. God’s very presence was born on earth in a stable in Bethlehem, wrapped in fragile flesh with tiny toes and tiny fingers, crying for the comfort of His human mother. Once more God was present with His people, and the world didn’t even notice.