Around Christmas time, I remember an old song we used to sing at church by Don Moen. “Emmanuel. Emmanuel. His name is called Emmanuel. Emmanuel. God with us. Revealed in us. His name is Emmanuel.” Simple, yet powerful as it reminds us of God’s plan to save the world. I thought about the meaning of it the other night when we, as a family, sat down, looked at our nativity and talked through all the people in it. By doing this activity, we each gained more insight and perspective into what has become a common Christmas symbol, but is truly the greatest display of love the world has ever seen.
Since the Garden of Eden, sin had reigned on the earth. It brought death and decay with it. Man had no ability to conquer it. When God looked on our helpless estate, He didn’t condemn us to an eternity In hell. Rather, He displayed His love by sending His one and only Son into the world, not to condemn it, but that through Him the world might be saved (John 3:16-17). He became one of us in order to reach us, to break the curse of sin and to end its rule. If you remember, while He was in the tomb, He took the keys of death, hell and the grace removing its power over our lives. He ushered in a wave of grace to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.
Romans 8:3b says, “Yet God sent us his Son in human form to identify with human weakness. Clothed with humanity, God’s Son gave his body to be the sin-offering so that God could once and for all condemn the guilt and power of sin”. Jesus, coming to earth as depicted in the manger scene, is God reaching out, identifying with us and ultimately sacrificing Himself so we could be together. Emmanuel is a powerful word that concisely tells the story of Christmas. You are loved immensely by your creator. He didn’t come to condemn you. He came to save you because there is no way to save yourself.