Immanuel—God With Us!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.”
John 3:16-17 (NLT)
At this time of year we see lots of Nativity scenes on display in most places we go and I guess that our reaction to them is one of either disbelief or acceptance. But really, these scenes should fill us full of awe and wonder—and why? Because these warm cuddly versions of the stable and the manger are in some small way depicting the “Incarnation”, the arrival of God in the flesh according to the promise of the Father.
In Matthew 1:22-23 he records that, “All of this happened to fulfil the Lord’s message through his prophet (Isaiah): ‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel, (meaning God is with us)’” Here Matthew is quoting from Isaiah 7:14.
Charles Wesley put it in a very special way, he wrote—“Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensively made man!”
This precious arrival was planned before the foundation of the world and happened just at the right time; notice, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” (Galatians 4:4-5). His plan has always been to bring all of humanity in to his family—to adopt us as his children; sons and daughters who are loved as much as he loves Jesus—“I in them and you in me, all being perfected united into one. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:23 italics mine).
This is the awesome task that this special child was sent to accomplish through suffering and death, so, as we see our next Nativity scene perhaps we will view it in a different light and stand there gazing in wonder and awe at the majesty of it all, just breathing a silent prayer of praise to God, just like the shepherds—“The shepherds went back, singing praises to God for all they had heard and seen!” (Luke 2:20 Good News Bible)
Thank you, Father Almighty, for your amazing plan for all humanity that began with the birth of our Saviour, Jesus, who took on our frail human flesh to reconcile us to you and to pave the way for us to become your children for all eternity.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
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