God is with us (Emmanuel)

“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 Emmanuel” which means, “God is with us” 

— Matt. 1:21-23

 

“Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” 

Gordon Lightfoot set these words to music in his famous ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.” God, who is love, is still there. The darkness of doubt, the misery of waiting and the fog of uncertainty may temporarily hide the Lord from human eyes. The Lord goes nowhere. He is Emmanuel, “God is with us.” Oh, how we need to hold on to these words and promises from God.

 

God is with us. He is among us all day, every day, to the close of the age (Matt. 28:20). He will never leave you, nor forsake you. The bright rays of His mercy shine through the forgiveness of your sins. They are reflected through the waters of Holy Baptism. Contained within bread and wine are the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. If He appeared in His unveiled heavenly glory, none could bear that sight. Hidden in bread and wine, the flesh and blood Jesus unites Himself to you through eating and drinking. You hear your pastor announce that your sins are forgiven. The voice is his, but the power is the Word he is given to speak. The Spirit works faith, comfort and peace in the forgiveness of your sins.

In the first Gulf War (1990-91) and the Iraq War (2003-11), the opening of the conflict featured what is known as “shock and awe.” Cruise missiles, drones, fighters and bombers precisely delivered their goods. Anti-aircraft artillery fill the skies in hope of downing the attackers. The first strikes take out the command and control of the adversary. Searching radars are jammed. Communications suffer and the enemy strongpoints are systematically destroyed. Once opposition, air power and defense are taken out, the attacking force has freedom to carry home their attacks at will. 

 

Many expect that Jesus would enter the world in much the same way. Heaven would employ shock and awe on earth to prepare the way for His arrival. Herod would immediately know of the new rival to his throne. The coming Lord would methodically reclaim a fallen world and utterly destroy the power of the adversary. Yet the Lord’s ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.

The forerunner of Jesus is a boy conceived by aged Zechariah in his childless wife Elizabeth. The Lord Himself would enter His world through the Virgin Mary. He would be conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit. Both women were unlikely candidates to bear a child. Mary was young and unwed. Elizabeth was old and childless.

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Rev. Timothy Scharr

District President 

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