“Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel – which, when translated, means, God with us.” Matthew 1:23 AMP
Christmas is an exciting time of year. We hurry back and forth to Christmas parties and concerts, to the malls to shop for friends and loved ones, to the grocery store to buy ingredients for Christmas cookies and our Christmas meal, to the tree lot or tree grove to cut down the Christmas tree… and all the while, God is with us. But how aware of Him are we?
Jesus came down from heaven as a baby over 2000 years ago so that GOD COULD BE WITH US. He no longer wanted to be confined to the Holy of Holies in the temple, He wanted to reside and dwell among His people. Jesus made the way for that to happen.
Emmanuel, God with us…
Emmanuel has always been my favorite “Name of God.” Any Christmas song that speaks of Emmanuel is inevitably my favorite one on any album. “God with us” is truly amazing. The Creator of the Universe abides with us here on the earth. He is closer to us than our next breath. He is immeasurable in His vastness, and yet He is so personal.
He wants to be involved in all aspects of our Christmas season. He wants to touch you through a special song at that Christmas concert. He wants to show you the perfect gift for your loved one. He wants to enjoy the trimming of the tree with you. He wants to show you exactly how long to bake that sweet potato pie so it comes out perfectly. He wants to be “with us.”
Prince of Peace
The only way for peace to reside on the earth, and for goodwill to be toward men, is through the love of Jesus. Jesus is also called the “Prince of Peace.” True and lasting peace is an outworking of what we hold on the inside. As we are more and more aware of God’s presence, we can receive Him in greater measure as our Prince of Peace.
As our minds and hearts are quieted and at rest in His peace, then the overflow of peace begins to affect our relationships and external circumstances. Jesus came that we may “have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” John 10:10 AMP. Consider a glass of water. Until it’s filled up to the brim on the inside, it will not spill out and make the area around it wet. In the same way, we have to be filled up first before the overflow is available to impact those around us.
At Christmas time and on into the New Year, become aware of Emmanuel as you never have before. Allow Him to speak to you, to fill you up, and make an overflow available for all those you come in contact with. It will make the holiday season light up and sparkle in new ways, it will bring a greater meaning to everything you do, and it will deepen your relationship with God.
Christmas is a time of joy! There is no greater joy than knowing that God is right there with you and He desires to lead and guide you in every area of your life. He wants only the best for you! The level of joy you experience in knowing that is far above what anyone or anything in this world can give you!
To God be all the Glory now and forevermore! Join with the angels and sing His praises!
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid,
for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
~ Matt. 28: 5,6a
For I know that my redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.
~ Job 19:25
Here’s an excellent Easter Day sermon by The Rev. Paul Martin of the UK, “From Tears to Joy“, based on John 20: 1-18. Please share!
See, my servant shall prosper;
he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high.
Just as there were many who were astonished at him–
so marred was his appearance,
beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of mortals–
so he shall startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which had not been told them they shall see,
and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people.
They made his grave with the wicked
and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain.
When you make his life an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
through him the will of the LORD shall prosper.
Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday, is a feast day the Thursday before Easter (the day before Good Friday). The Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins the Triduum, referring to the three days from Good Friday to Easter Sunday which celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The Triduum is observed by many denominations of the Christian church, including the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, and other Protestant denominations. In many traditions, the season of Lent officially ends after morning Mass on Holy Thursday.
The word “Maundy” is believed to come from Old English by way of Old French and Latin. The maund was a small basket held by the poor to receive alms given by the nobility prior to their attending the Mass on Holy Thursday.
For Scriptures and meditations along with musical accompaniment, visit these meditations on the Triduum (Roman Catholic).