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)
All this took place to fulfil what the LORD had said through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us"). (Matthew 1:22-23)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)
I have noticed recently an increasing amount of references to Christmas appearing. It all started a few weeks ago when I was behind a lady at the checkout who was going home to make her Christmas cake. Then my mum told me how a lady she knows is busy making all her own Christmas cards. On the radio, other people were talking about their preparations for Christmas and then just this Wednesday I went to a garden centre to buy some plants to find that Christmas had most definitely arrived! When you walked into the garden centre you were met not by plants, as you might expect, but by fairy lights hanging from the ceiling and baubles covering the walls with as much glitter and sparkle as any Christmas tree could possibly want. If that wasn’t enough, on Thursday I was sent an email from a shop I occasionally visit telling me that “Christmas is here! Full range in store and on-line now!”
I almost had to check my calendar. It was only the middle of September, there is still over three months until Christmas Day is here.
It did however get me thinking about Christmas. Before all the cards and presents and decorations take over I paused to think about God as Immanuel, God with us and the incredible event that saw God coming to earth as a baby in order that we might be saved. It is important that we don’t leave our thinking about Christmas until Christmas Day but that all through the year we remember what happened on that first Christmas morning and that we thank God for his gift of eternal life; better than any other gift we might receive on Christmas Day.
So as you too see the advertising, hear of the preparations, see the cards, the presents and the baubles, find time to pause and reflect on a God who loved us so much that he came as a baby to be with us and through his Holy Spirit he is with us still.
Father God, we thank you that you sent your son to be with us on earth and that you are still with us through the words in the bible and the presence of the Holy Spirit. May we never take for granted your gift of grace to us.
Song: Immanuel (Stuart Townend – performed by David Wesley)