O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear. Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
(from the traditional carol “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”)
God with us! May this never lose its wonder for those who believe in Jesus Christ. God came to earth, was born in the flesh, and walked among mankind.
After his baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness where he fasted and prayed. At the end of the forty days and nights, he was tempted by Satan. Answering each temptation with the Word of God, Jesus did not yield to Satan’s schemes. As he started his ministry, he called a number of followers to himself whom he taught by word and by example over the next few years.
Jesus wept with those he loved, and I’m pretty sure he enjoyed some good laughs with them too. He sometimes surprised them, even shocked them. I’d be shocked by someone walking on the water, wouldn’t you? He taught them, ate with them, and asked them to serve thousands with a few fish and loaves of bread. Oh, we could go on and on.
And then Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing his time had come. Entering Jerusalem, he heard the crowds calling out “Hosanna!” They expected him to deliver them – from Roman occupation.
Yet Jesus had come to deliver us from sin and death, offering freedom from a bondage greater than that of Roman rule. He died, the innocent God-man on a Roman cross, bearing the weight of my sin and the sins of the world. Emmanuel, “God with us,” died and rose again on the third day to set us free!
Rejoice, Emmanuel has come!
Thank you, Emmanuel, for your presence and the incomparable gift you have given. I stand amazed this Christmas. May I never lose the wonder of who you are and what you have done! Amen.
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