23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[a] (which means “God with us”).
Nicole: What do you think about naming a baby “God with us”?
Elea: It could be cool. Maybe the baby or the name could remind you that God is with you.
N: What does “God with us” mean to you?
E: It means His spirit and His love is with us.
N: Kind of like that song we sing to you in Spanish at night?
E: Yeah. [translating] Dios esta aqui – God is here
Tan cierto como el aire que respiro – As certain as the air I breathe
N: Why do you think it is a good Christmas reminder that God is with us?
E: Because He came to Earth and He was literally and physically with us. Because we celebrate it on Christmas it reminds us that Jesus is with us like He physically was a long time ago.
N: Can we still say it’s true that God is with us now?
E: Well, the Bible says that God will always be with us and never leave us. Joshua 1:9 says [translating from Spanish in her head], “Be strong and courageous. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid because the Lord with be with you wherever you go.”
N: Do you have any words to encourage your church family to remember “God with us” this year even though we are apart?
E: Let’s see…you can read the Bible and find some verses that mention God being with people, like maybe the fiery furnace because it shows how God was with Shadrach, Meshach and, Abednego.
N: If you had to pick a couple of emojis to share Christmas love with everyone at FCC, what would they be?
The reality of “God with us” is such a contrast to the distancing and isolating we have gone through this year. I love that Elea brought up the fiery furnace, because it truly was an awful moment for these 3 men. This was probably not what they had planned for their year either. Yet God, revealed Himself to them in such a unique way. He could have welcomed them into eternity with him that day and it would have been just as true to say God was with them. But He didn’t meet their need for His presence in that way. He decided to join them in the middle of the fire. In the middle of the unthinkable, God walked with them. He was Immanuel. Many years later, God showed up again in an unusual way. He did not show up as a King with an army and a throne. He met us as a baby. He met us in a stable. He met us as a refugee.
This year, when we are painfully aware of the ways we are not with each other, may we be even more open to Immanuel. May we experience “God with us” in ways we never have before.