Christmas Messages
December 23, 2009

Immanuel and Jesus



by: SVG Christian Council
Signed: Rev. Victor Job
Fr. Atonio Pio
The Rt. Rev’d C. Leopold Friday
Major Henry King

THE CHRISTMAS STORY is wrapped up in these two names which were given to the child to be born of Mary. “They shall call him Emmanuel… and you are to name him Jesus”. (Matt. 1: 23, 21). These names tell who it is we are celebrating at this Christmas time and the reason for our celebration.{{more}}

Over seven hundred years before the birth of the Christ child, the prophet Isaiah spoke of “a young woman (a virgin) who shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14). At that time, Isaiah was giving a word of advice to a frightened King Ahaz whose country, Judah, was threatened with invasion by two other nations. The sign of Immanuel was about salvation, about God saving the king and the people of Judah from the enemy. Matthew sees the fulfillment of this prophesy in the birth of Mary’s boy child.

The name Immanuel describes the true character of the one who is to be born from God, and Matthew gives the meaning of the name. It is a Hebrew name which simply means “God with us”. That is the Christmas story and that is the faith of the believer in Christ – that God is with us. And that is what we are celebrating.

God wrapped himself in human form and stepped down to the level of mankind in the person of Mary’s boy child. Divinity became humanity to let us know that our dreams, our hopes and our aspirations do have significance. The infinite became the infant to show us how to share our joys and sorrows. John talks about God’s presence among us in another way: “The word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1: 14). So the name “Immanuel” reminds us that God is deeply involved in our affairs, in every thing that affects our lives – health, education, the economy, trade, employment, law and order and politics. So let us celebrate God’s presence. He has not abandoned or forsaken us and he will not. “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them.” (Rev: 21:3). This is whom we are celebrating – “Immanuel”, God with us.

The name Jesus tells the reason for our celebration. The name “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Jewish name “Joshua”’ which means “God is Salvation or God Saves”. At the announcement of the birth of Mary’s boy child, the Angel said to Mary (Luke 1: 31) and Joseph (Matt. 1: 21): “name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”. God knew why he gave his boy that name, because only Jesus can deal with the sin problem – man’s only problem. To confirm this fact, at the birth of Mary’s child in Bethlehem, the angel of God made the announcement of the birth of the Saviour. “To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord”. (Luke 2:11) The angel did not say – “to you is born philosopher, law giver, teacher, politician or reformer”. The angel said “to you is born a Savior.” And that was what the people needed most. That is what the world needs. That is what our country needs. Christmas is the certain testimony that God knows that is what our people need – not only food to eat or drinks to consume; not only improvement in education or our health service; not only more and better markets for the sale of our produce; not only more jobs for our young school leavers; not more politics and religion. What out people need most is a Saviour to save them from their sins. That is the reason for our celebration. The good news is that this Saviour, Jesus, died on the cross to save us. Bethlehem and Calvary, the cradle and the cross must go together. Christmas cannot be separated from Easter.

So as we celebrate, let us keep the proper focus. Let us keep in mind the one whom we are celebrating and the reason for our celebration. But on the other hand , our celebration will be meaningless until we accept this “Jesus” as our Saviour and live for him everyday. May that be your resolve today. Our greatest wish is that you will come to know this Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. In that context, the Christian Council wishes you a peaceful and joy-filled Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year.

The Christian Council wishes you a blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.