Reading: Isaiah 7 verses 13 – 14
Thought: Names are funny things. We get them when we’re born (or at least within 6 weeks of that special day). Sometimes, we get them because we are named after someone, because a parent liked the name or because the name has a special meaning. Whatever the reason, you have a name and that name is part of your identity – it tells people who you are and is probably the most known fact about you, whoever you are!
If we didn’t have names for people, or indeed things, it would make life pretty tricky – how would others ever know what we are talking about or who we are talking to? Names give meaning and help us to make sense of people and things around us. Whatever name we have, it is highly likely that it has a meaning, something that describes the word itself.
When the prophets foretold Jesus’ coming to earth, one of the names He was called – from the passage we read in Isaiah 7 – was Emmanuel, meaning ‘God with us’. This wasn’t just a name to describe a meaning though, in this case, the name explained exactly who Jesus was: God had come to earth to be with His people in the form of His Son, an arrival on earth like none other ever before or since. An arrival that would change the history of the world. An arrival that still offers hope and change now.
The incredible thing is that this truth – God with us – still stands today. Because of the sacrifce of the cross, because of His victory over death, even though Jesus is no longer physically on earth, God is still with us: if we trust in Him and put our faith in Him, His Spirit is with us always. For Christians, this is an incredible promise and a wonderful message of hope – it reminds us that in this life, no matter what goes on around us, whatever uncertainty we face, whatever worries or fears we may have, we are not alone. God has told us that He is always with us and that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
God made us and He knows our difficulties and our weaknesses and, He knows – and knew – that we need a Saviour, which is why Jesus came to earth as a baby, to change the course of history forever.
I love how The Jesus Storybook Bible puts it: ‘Mary and Joesph named Him Jesus – ‘Emmanuel’ – which means ‘God had come to live with us’.
Because, of course, He had.’
Carol of the Day: Emmanuel, Michael Card
Advent Activity: Card tree with name baubles
Materials Needed: Green card, cut to shape of a tree. Star for the top – we went with sparkly card. Card to cut/ buttons to use as baubles. Pen to write names. On central bauble, or star, write Emmanuel and then create baubles with family names on to put on the rest of the tree.