God is with Us

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” –Isaiah 7:14
What’s your favorite expression of love? I mean, if you were to boil love down to one phrase or
even a word, what would it be?
You could say commitment. Married love is a commitment to one another, a resolve to stay
together through thick and thin. Or you might think of the word affection. Love is a strong
affection, a feeling of caring for someone else. Those are good words. And there are others.
Words like fondness, warmth, devotion, and compassion—all of them express the concept of
love in different ways.
But I’d like to suggest another word as perhaps the greatest expression of love—with.
A wife says to her husband, “Would you like to go with me to the grocery store?” A sick little girl
says to her father, “Daddy, stay with me.” A young man asks a young woman if she will go
through life with him.
There’s something special about with. Teammates say, “I’m with you,” and you know they’ll do
everything in their power to help the team. Friends say, “I’ll be with you,” and you know that
they’re going to be there for you in good times and in bad.
God also expresses his love in terms of with, but sadly, the people he most wants to be with
sometimes act as if they’d rather do without him in their lives.
That’s where King Ahaz stood. He tried to live his life without God. It was to him that the Lord
made the promise through the prophet Isaiah that, “the virgin will be with child and will give birth
to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Immanuel. In all of scripture, only Jesus is given that name. It means “God with us.” And God
with us is the ultimate expression of his love.
That’s what makes our celebration of Christmas more than just a mid-winter break. God came to
be with us. He knows what life is like. He understands hurt. He’s experienced rejection. He
knows pain. He knows what it’s like to lose sleep. He knows betrayal and hatred,
disappointment and grief. He knows…and he cares.
  • To the student for the first time away from home, he says, “I am with you.”
  • To the newlywed husband and wife wondering about their future, he says, “I am with you.”
  • To the discouraged resident of a nursing home, he says, “I am with you.”
  • To the single parent and her child…to the recently divorced…to the financially strapped…to
    the grieving and the sick, he says, “I am with you.”
  • To the tiniest child and the most elderly among us, he says. “I am with you.”
Before he ascended into heaven Jesus said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age”
(Matthew 28:20). He loved us too much to leave us to ourselves. And one day he will come
back to take us to be with him forever.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for coming to be with us. Keep us faithful to you, that we may live with
you forever. Amen.