From Pastor Nate: Emmanuel

Brothers and sisters,

The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21

The lyrics of O Come, O Come Immanuel have deep meaning for me:

O come, O 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.

It had been four hundred years since God inspired a prophet to write the last book of the Old Testament. Hundreds of prophecies foretold of a king or Messiah who would come to save people and form a new covenant with them. Immanuel, God with us, would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem, the city of David. Not Herod, not the Pharisees, not the scribes, not the Romans could thwart the plan of God to deliver His people.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

Isaiah 9:6-7

The Triune God had orchestrated all of creation and history leading to this era defining moment. The Son of God, Jesus, would be born as a baby both fully God and fully man. The angels, magi, and shepherds proclaimed and witnessed the Alpha and Omega who had existed forever but also would be born of Mary.

The Lord declared through the prophet Ezekiel, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Not a few sins… not some sins…. their sins. We have faith, hope, joy, and Love this Christmas season because of Jesus. Nothing in this life can ever snatch us out of His hand.

The good shepherd is the way, the truth, and the life. Rejoice with the angels! Rejoice with Joseph and Mary! Rejoice with the shepherds and magi! God is with us! Praise the mighty name and works of the Father, Son, and Spirit!

I will close with a Christmas blessing by Wilda English:

“Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.”