23 Dec

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver,
desire of the nations, Savior of all people:
Come and set us free, Lord our God.

As children, we learned a lot about “taking sides”.  When we played, we would want certain people to be on our side, on our team, with us.  When they were among us, we felt untouchable or invincible.

That is what the people of Israel longed to experience: their God in their midst.  God had been in their midst, once upon a time.  However, as the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden recounted to the people, there came a point in time when we turned our backs on God.  We no longer lived with God, we became corruptible, and we became mortal.  Such a great loss.

God promised to restore the balance one day and Isaiah told the people that day would come when a Savior was given to the people.  That Savior would be called Emmanuel, a name that means God-with-us.

God-with-us.  Can you imagine that?  Not God-speaks-to-us or God-writes-to-us but God-with-us, physically present to us.

You cannot get more intimate than that.

Jesus reinforced that intimacy when He instructed His disciples on the proper way to pray.  He told them to call God, “Abba”.  Quite literally, that word meant “Daddy”.

That Daddy sent His only Son to us so that we could be saved from the bondage of sin and death.  When the Word took on flesh, God was indeed with us in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is His coming to us as an infant, as Emmanuel, as God-with-us, that we prepare to celebrate in two days time.  On that day, we also remember that He will come again.

At His second coming, we will be with God!

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for the grace that you need truly to be prepared for the coming of Jesus.  Reflect upon this verse of our Advent hymn:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.