"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14 NIV
Last evening we went out with friends we hadn't seen for a while. While we've talked on the phone and exchanged texts since the last time, it's not the same as the pleasure that comes from spending time with them in person. Instead, there is a joy that comes with the closeness, smiles, and hugs that can only be experienced in person.
When the Father sent the Son, he desired to establish a personal connection with humankind. Before Jesus' coming, that interaction had been indirect, sacrifices offered in the temple–the equivalent of phone calls and texts, good but not the same as a personal encounter. God came to be with us in the form of the fully divine, fully human baby Jesus to be with us.
The baby Jesus suckled, spat up, and had his nappy changed like any other baby. He grew like any other child; he formed teeth, lost them, and received scrapes and bruises that Mary no doubt kissed away. But also, as he grew, he grew in the wisdom of his heavenly Father.
While he was with us, he made friends, enemies, and followers. He performed miracles, taught, and preached, and through the example of his life, we learned how God, in this human form, desires us to live. In his dying, Jesus redeemed us to the Father. In sending the Holy Spirit, God continues to dwell with us. Because our Emmanuel came, we can rejoice in a personal relationship with God.
Heavenly Father, thank you for coming among us in Jesus Christ so we may have a personal relationship with you. We give thanks for Jesus' example. For the salvation that came through his sacrifice and the hope of the eternal in his conquering death. We thank you for the Holy Spirit, that part of you that dwells within our souls. Bless us this day so that all our words and actions may glorify you. In our Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.