Isaiah 7:14 contains one of the most simple, beautiful and powerful statements of Advent. The virgin’s son will be called Immanuel, God with us. Immanuel is a name with broad and sweeping implications.
He is relational. First, our God is relational, existing in a community of mutual love, respect and friendship eternally in the beginning and eternally into the future.
He pursues us. Second, our God seeks to include us in His divine circle of relationship. Unlike the gods of the Israelites’ neighbors who were angry, distant and needing to be appeased, He is the initiator and pursuer of relationship.
He longs to be with us. Third, His desire “to be with” us has no bounds. Just as the Spirit hovered over the waters of the deep, (Gen. 1:2) He hovered over a willing participant so that He may enter the chaos of our world enabling us to experience His “withness.”
Unfortunately, we forget all of that in the busyness of our life. Work can take on an identity of its own. We move throughout our day independent of this God who longs to be with us. During this Advent season, as reminders of Him are all around, may we pause and be with Him. May we experience this “withness” and remember that he is God with us. He is Immanuel.
He is Immanuel on our commute.
He is Immanuel in difficult conversations.
He is Immanuel while we pull reports and give presentations.
He is Immanuel as we strategize, plan and evaluate next steps.
“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