“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel.’” Matthew 1:22-23
“Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
The name means “God with us,” but you already know that. But do you know how important it is that God is with us? There are times even at this time of year, approaching the great day of Christmas, especially at Christmas, when we might feel terribly alone and lonely. Days of celebration have a way of emphasizing our being alone all the more. And it may be that you’re single or widowed or just plain depressed, yes, sadly depressed, feeling the weight of the season that seems to make so many demands on us in order to “be jolly and bright.”
How do you suppose Mary and Joseph felt as their first Christmas approached… the day that celebrated the birth of Mary’s firstborn, a son. Do you think they also felt a kind of “lonely exile,” as though they were “captive” to circumstances and events beyond their control? The text of Luke 2:1-7 bears this out.
It would be good to know that they were not alone in what they were experiencing, but that God keeps His word. Mary and Joseph were assured that even in their loneliness, God’s great promises were being fulfilled. God was with them.