The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

Isaiah 7:14

ADVENT DEVOTION – WEEK FOUR

As Christmas comes closer this year, I keep hearing one name for Jesus repeated over and over in my head: Immanuel. It’s not unusual, especially during Advent, to read the Old and New Testament verses proclaiming “He will be called Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’” This year, for some reason, the enormity of what that transaction actually meant hit me, and it quite literally brought me to my knees.

These verses can be summed up as God’s astonishing pursuit of us. Think of what he gave up: heaven, a place of peace, joy, hope, love, worship, wholeness, completeness, light, and unimaginable glory. To leave all of that, wrap himself in human flesh to enter into darkness, and experience all that would come with that decision is shocking. To willingly give up heaven, with the full understanding of the human condition and the brokenness that he would encounter, is simply staggering.

And yet, he did it.

The Apostle Paul once shared the startling words, “to die is gain.” A lot of people stumble over those words because they cling to this life, but Paul knew that going to be with Jesus in heaven holds something better than this world can offer. At the end of his life, Jesus had that same promise as he looked upon the cross that stood between him and heaven.

He knew the great truth: “to die is gain.” But as the earthly journey was about to begin and he left heaven, I can only assume the promise before him must have been worth pursuing. That promise was to bring you, and me, back with him.

Immanuel: “God with us.” He came to be with us so that we could forever be with him.

Immanuel. Don’t ever miss this incomprehensible gift.

Cindy Western

Pastor of Discipleship Material at Crossings OKC
cwestern@crossings.church

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