Heroes of the Bible

Immanuel

Whether you think about it as “God with us” or “with us is God”, the name “Immanuel” expresses the universal desire to have “God with us” so that “with us is God”. When God is fully with us and we are fully with God, “‘[h]e will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 25:8). No wonder humans have a universal desire to have “God with us” so that “with us is God.”

The conception and birth of Jesus “took place to fulfill what the [LORD] had said through the prophet [Isaiah]: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:22-23, paraphrasing Isaiah 7:14).

The name “Immanuel” can also be translated “with us is God” (Isaiah 7:14 translator’s note JSB).

Whether you think about it as “God with us” or “with us is God”, the name “Immanuel” expresses the universal desire to have “God with us” so that “with us is God”.

At the very beginning of the Bible, this yearning for the presence of God manifests itself in the Garden of Eden. In this fleeting paradise, the LORD God is portrayed as “walking in the garden in the cool of the evening” calling for Adam and Eve to join him.

At the very end of the Bible, this yearning for the presence of God is fulfilled in “a new heaven and a new earth”. (Revelation 21:1, quoting Isaiah 65:17).

In this ultimate paradise:

“God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3).

For, when God is fully with us and we are fully with God, “‘[h]e will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 25:8).

No wonder humans have a universal desire to have “God with us” so that “with us is God.”

No wonder we celebrate the birth of Immanuel each Christmas!

No wonder the angel proclaimed on that first Christmas: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today [in Bethlehem] a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11).

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To read about St. Francis of Assisi and the Nativity Scene, please read my blogs: “St. Francis of Assisi Made the Way of Jesus Great Again”, “St. Francis of Assisi’s Vision of the Nativity”, “The Nativity Scene: Baby Jesus”, “The Nativity Scene: Mary”, “The Nativity Scene: Joseph”, “The Nativity Scene: The Homeless Family”, “The Nativity Scene: The Humble Stable”, “The Nativity Scene: The Shepherds”, “The Nativity Scene: The Magi”, “The Nativity Scene: The Sheep”, and “The Nativity Scene: The Angels”; and by reading the chapter “Relying on the Lunar Module” in my book Visions of the Church (published together with my book Visions of America), at pages 181-185.