Immanuel: God with us; a beautiful Hebrew word used in Isaiah to describe the long-awaited Messiah. This Messiah was prophesied to be born of a virgin and many know him as Jesus Christ.
I have found myself dwelling upon him a lot today. After all, it is the day the Christian world celebrates his birth. For me it has been a wonderful, breath-taking reminder that he knows me a lot better than I think. It is an incredible reminder that Jesus knows exactly what our lives are like, what our world is like.
He became like us … like me… and like you.
He is familiar with the scum of the earth: the wretched evil that seeks to destroy life.
He is a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with suffering, persecution, trials, poverty, abuse, injustice.
He knows what it is like to be rejected, to be placed in uncomfortable situations, to have much less than you deserve.
He felt pain, heartache, sadness, anger.
He knows what it is like to have everything, and to give it all up.
He knows the weight of the world and the wait of the world.
He knows what it is like to be teased, mocked, beaten, misunderstood.
He knows the familiar touch of a loved one, and the unwelcome hand of an abuser.
He knows the ache of an empty belly and of an empty soul.
He knows the stinging pain of death … all too well.
He knows us.
He knows you.
Jesus. God, in human form. Divinity wrapped in flesh and blood. The only deity to ever walk among us, adopting our bodily form and yet maintaining his eternal, immutable Identity.
He willingly and purposefully left a perfect, safe and comfortable paradise to enter into a dark, cold, unwelcoming world.
He traded riches for poverty, power for vulnerability, honor for humility.
It blows my mind.
I helped to serve a meal to homeless people yesterday and I cannot say that I would trade my lifestyle for theirs. Why and how would a king or the God of the universe do this for us?
The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him... He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him…The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (John 1:1-14 MSG)
Jesus said “Father, it’s time. Display the bright splendor of your Son so the Son in turn may show your bright splendor. You put him in charge of everything human so he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life: that they know you, the one and only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor, the very splendor I had in your presence before there was a world. I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came from you. They believed that you sent me. (John 17:1-8 MSG)
From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (1 John 1:1-4 MSG)