Immanuel! We hear this word a lot during the Christmas season. In Isaiah 7:14 the Lord promised Ahaz a sign, “behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” It means “God with us.” This verse has been a key one for establishing the deity of Christ. Jesus was not a created being but the “only begotten son” of God himself. Jesus was God in the flesh and he left his home on high to pitch his tent “tabernacle” with us, to be with us, to enter into our experience. Jesus was in a very real sense God with us in the flesh. But what does it mean for “God to be with us.”

Acts 7:9-10, tells us that God was with Joseph when his brothers sold him into slavery. That verse says, “God  was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom…” The book of Judges teaches us that “God was with” all of the Judges. Judges 2:18 says, “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies…” The name “Immanuel” might mean a lot of things but we have good reason to believe that it means God will rescue us from our afflictions and he will fight for us and give us victory over our enemies.

My favorite Christmas Hymn is “O Come, O Come Immanuel…” One of the lessor known verses of this hymn is the prayer for the Christ, the Messiah, to rescue us from our afflictions. It goes like this, “O come, O Bright and Morning Star, and bring us comfort from afar! Dispel the shadows of the night and turn our darkness into light.” Another verse addresses his victory over our ultimate enemy. It goes like this, “O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny. From depths of hell Thy people save And give them victory o’er the grave.” My point is that “Immanuel” has come in the person of Christ. He is indeed with us through faith as he was with Joseph in his trials and as he was with the Judges in bringing them victory.  In Christ we find eternal comfort amidst our trials. In Christ we find eternal victory over the last and greatest of our enemies.