Here is a beautiful story that illustrates the glorious truth of Immanuel.
A father told his son he would be sent to sleep in the attic, with only bread and water for his dinner, if he broke the rules of the home once more. The child disobeyed again and was immediately sent to the attic. He shivered in fear of the dark and lonely place.
The father could not eat because he had the boy on his heart. His wife said, “I know what you are thinking. But you must not bring our son from the attic. He would have no respect for your word. You must not cheapen your relation as his father by failing to keep your word.”
Her husband replied: “You are right. I will not break my word. To do so would cause my son to lose his respect for me and my word. But he is so lonely up there.”
So the father kissed his wife good night, went up to the attic, ate bread and water with his son and, when the child went to sleep on the hard boards, his father’s arm was his pillow.
That is Immanuel. That is God’s presence in our lives. It is the message of Christmas. That is why we can have Hope. Because God chose to suffer with us, and He still chooses to suffer with us. And He knows that suffering will not last forever. There is an end to it all.
Isn’t it astonishing, even astounding, that the King of the Universe, the One who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), would be willing to enter our existence and become one of us, “God with us”! What other “god” has ever done such a thing? It is impossible to comprehend!
As one pastor, Craig Carter, points out, “The greatest wonder of Christmas is that it demonstrates the amazing love of God. Because of Christ’s birth, we no longer have to question God’s love for us. It was demonstrated in a tangible way when God’s Son, Jesus came and lived among us.”
Outstanding author and pastor Tim Keller (I recommend anything and everything by him) writes, “Christmas is the end of thinking you are better than someone else, because Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you.”
We were bound by sin and guilt, imprisoned by Satan, under the sentence of an eternity of punishment and suffering, lost with no hope of changing our eternal destiny. Thankfully, that is not the end of the story! As the Apostle Paul declares, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7). We could not go to God, to freedom, to forgiveness and redemption. So He came to us. He is Immanuel, God with us!
This Sunday, December 25, we will conclude our Christmas teaching series, “Old Testament Prophecies of Christ” with the marvelous truth that Jesus would be “Born to be Immanuel: His Majesty!” He is God in the flesh, God with us! Let us enjoy Christmas Day worship together. Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am either in the building or online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We Livestream every Sunday to both locations. (If you are able, please come early to share in the Bible Class at 9:30am. We have classes for children, youth, and adults. Let’s study and learn together.)
If you would like to give a special Christmas Gift for Jesus or just want to make sure your giving is up-to-date, please bring it this Sunday or give online at here honoluluag.org. All gifts given or postmarked by December 31 will receive credit for 2022 giving.
Aloha ke Akua!