God Is With Us — Immanuel!
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . “ What amazing words! Who can fathom them?
. . . The eternal Word, Who was with God and was God, through Whom all the universe was made, became flesh and blood and dwelt among the people of the earth. . . . The God who holds all things in the palm of His hands was held in the womb and then the arms of a young virgin. . . . The God who possessed all the riches of heaven was born in the poorest and dirtiest place on earth, a feed trough for cattle.
. . . Most amazing of all, God came to DWELL WITH US. . . . The holy God did not come to condemn us, or even to threaten us. . . . He came to dwell with us as one of us. . . . He did not come with thunder and lightning, fire and smoke, and the sound of a loud trumpet, as He did on Mt. Sinai. . . . He came as a little baby who could be adored by all without fear.
. . . Even the angels who announced His birth struck fear, but there was no fear in seeing and holding the Son of God. . . . He came to take our place and endure our punishment so that we could be made one with God. . . . Now–in and through this Child Jesus–God is with us and we are with Him.
No Reason To Fear
Take those words to heart. GOD IS WITH US. These are not just empty words. It is not some dream. When the world tries to take comfort from this without knowing the God who has come to us, it IS just an empty dream for them.
We have heard more people saying and singing “God bless America” in the past few months than we have in a long time. Yet many of those who say it and sing it blaspheme God with their lives and words. They offer worship and prayers to Allah, to Buddha, to the god of the Jews, and to many other false gods and then say, “God bless America.” They reject the one and only God who can save them and bless them.
But all those who know the God of heaven and honor the Son He sent truly have God with them. God is with us to bless us, to protect us, to guide and strengthen us, and to save us.
We have no reason to fear the terrorists or any others who may kill the body but cannot harm the soul. He who has power over all enemies–even over death and hell itself–is with us.
Luther describes our confidence so beautifully in Hymn #103 (TLH):
"Oh, then rejoice that through His Son
God is with sinners now at one;
Made like yourselves of flesh and blood,
Your brother is th' eternal God.
What harm can sin and death then do?
The true God now abides with you.
Let hell and Satan rage and chafe;
Christ is your Brother--ye are safe.
Luther once said, “It is not enough that we should hear his story if the heart be closed. I must listen, not to a history, but to a gift.”
We often lament because of what the world has done with Christmas. It has become so commercialized. But we should not be surprised. The people of this world do not know this Child. They may know the history, that Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem. But they have not received this gift. They do not celebrate salvation in God’s Son. They just celebrate.
May all our celebrations remind us of this one thing–God is with us!
Christ is your Brother! You are safe! Rejoice!
–Pastor David Reim