God With Us
Immanuel. A simple Hebrew phrase we say and sing during the Advent and Christmas seasons to remind us of the real reason for the season. Immanuel (sometimes written Emmanuel) literally means “with us is God,” or, more simply, “God with us.” The meaning of Jesus birth is essentially immanuel. That is, the baby Jesus is literally God coming in human form to be with us.
Immanuel first appears in Isaiah 7:
Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Isn’t it enough for you to be tiresome for people that you are also tiresome before my God? Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign. The young woman is pregnant and is about to give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel. He will eat butter and honey, and learn to reject evil and choose good. Before the boy learns to reject evil and choose good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned. The Lord will bring upon you, upon your people, and upon your families days unlike any that have come since the day Ephraim broke away from Judah—the king of Assyria.” (Isaiah 7:13-17, CEB)
It appears again in Isaiah 8:
“Because this people has turned its back on the gently flowing stream of Shiloah
And gotten all excited over Rezin and the son of Remaliah,
I’m stepping in and facing them with the wild floodwaters of the Euphrates,
The king of Assyria and all his fanfare, a river in flood, bursting its banks,
Pouring into Judah, sweeping everything before it, water up to your necks,
A huge wingspan of a raging river, O Immanuel, spreading across your land.”
But face the facts, all you oppressors, and then wring your hands. Listen, all of you, far and near.
Prepare for the worst and wring your hands. Yes, prepare for the worst and wring your hands!
Plan and plot all you want—nothing will come of it. All your talk is mere talk, empty words,
Because when all is said and done, the last word is Immanuel—God-With-Us. (Isaiah 8:7-10, The Message)
Immanuel also appears in the Christmas story of Matthew:
She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Immanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:21-23, NRSV)
Throughout this Advent season as we await the coming of the Christ child into history, into our world, and into our lives, we will look deeply into the very idea of Immanuel – God with us – on Sunday mornings.
What is interesting about this phrase – Immanuel, God with us – is the little word that connects God and us – the word with. In Hebrew, this little word is im. This word im encompasses several ideas, including:
- Approaching – Being by or beside someone, closeness, coming near
- Inhabiting – dwelling in a place or with someone, being in custody or care of someone
- Belonging – being with someone or something, being together, being a companion
Each week we will look at one aspect of the connection between God and us that is contained in the little word im (with). We will answer the question: “What does God coming to the world in the form of a child mean for us?” And we will discover how the name Immanuel answers this question in three ways:
- God Approaches Us
- God Inhabits Us
- We Belong to God
Christmas is about Immanuel, God with us. Christmas is about you and God. Christmas is about belonging, inhabiting and approaching God through the birth of His son, Jesus the Christ.
Join us each Sunday of advent as we explore Immanuel, God with us.
This Week at Hood
Wednesday, December 6th, 3:30pm–Prayer & Inspiration
6:00 pm – Choir practice!
Thursday, December 7th, 1:00-3:00pm–Jason at the Cellar for Community Office hours (108 N. Wilson Ave.)
Saturday, December 9th–Lake & Lights: meet in the church parking @ 3:00pm to carpool to the Lashmits’ Lakehouse for a early chili dinner. We will leave the lakehouse @ 5:30pm to go over to Lu Mil Vineyard and explore their large light display. The cost for the lights is ($6 a person).
Sunday, December 10th, 11:00 am – Worship: God With Us.
12:oo noon–Choir lunch & rehearsal
December 17th–11:00am–Choir’s Musical presentation: God With Us; followed by church-wide Christmas lunch and visit from Saint Nicholas!
December 24th–11:00am–worship; 5:00pm–Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion
*If you have not already picked up a copy of the Advent Study Guide for your family, they are available at the church, just outside the sanctuary.
March 11, 2019
February 12, 2019
December 26, 2018