Advent: December 3

Read: Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23

Thoughts for Parents:

Is there any sweeter name by which to call Jesus than Immanuel? He is God with us. Our familiarity with this name has numbed our senses to the shocking nature of what it means. Say it out loud to yourself right now, “God with us.” This name is the answer to the question who is Jesus. His name is Immanuel. By very nature God, Jesus became completely man so that He could be with us. He is with us in every sense of the word. In the movie My Blue Heaven,  Steve Martin has a line that he repeats over and over again, “I’m with you. When I say I’m with you I don’t mean I understand where you’re coming from. I mean, I’m with you.” When Mary conceived Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit, this was God’s enduring proclamation that He was with us. Jesus becomes one of us so that He could relate to us in every way. He was tempted as we are “yet without sin,” He knew how to “refuse the evil and choose the good.”

In every area where we choose the evil and refuse the good, Jesus continues to say He is God with us. How is this possible? It is only possible by the work of God. He initiates the relationship by sending Jesus to be with us, and then He pursues this relationship by breaking down every barrier. This pursuing is seen Matthew 1:21, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” God is with us with the purpose of saving us from our sin. Every day He chose good and refused evil so that we could be saved from our sin. Every excruciating moment of temptation that He faced was to assure us that He knows our lives, that He understands our trials, and that He is with us.

Thoughts for Children:

Back in the olden days your name meant a lot. It wasn’t just something your mom or dad yelled when she wanted you to clean up your room. Your name actually had to do with who you were. Jesus’ name is very important. Jesus was called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Do you every feel like you are alone? Do you ever feel like no one understands you? God named Jesus a very special name to remind you that you aren’t alone … ever. God sent Jesus to earth to make sure we know for a fact that we aren’t alone.

During Christmas, we talk a lot about how Jesus was a baby, but have you every thought about the fact that He was also a child. He was a young person, just like you. He had to learn how to read and write and talk and walk just like you. He had friends that did unkind things, He had to share His toys, and He had to obey His parents, just like you. The big difference between you and Jesus, though, is that He always chose the right way to act. He did this so that He could make the second part of His name come true. He was called Jesus because that meant, “he would save people from their sin.” So, every time you choose to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing, you can remember this part of His name: He came to save you from your sin. He came to live the life you couldn’t ever live no matter how hard you try. He also came to take all the punishment for all of the times you disobeyed and for all the times you will disobey in the future. He came so that you would know you are never alone. He is God with you all the time.

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