This is what I shared with my congregation yesterday morning: Immanuel: The Meaning of Christmas It’s that time of the year. Christmas is upon us again. How do I know? To ask the question is to answer it. Traffic in and out of the stores. Traffic on the roads. The Nativity scene everywhere. The Christmas chorals and songs. Christmas is everywhere. But what is the real meaning of Christmas in all this traffic? The Name Immanuel Jews had a tendency of naming their children from certain experiences (Moses, because he was drawn from the water). There is something in a name. “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). After relating the angel’s appearance to Joseph, Matthew tells us that all this happened to fulfill prophecy, and then he quotes Isaiah 7:14: “See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God is with us’” (1:23). God left heaven and took up residence among his creatures in the person of Jesus Christ. The Coming of Immanuel Matthew tells us that a virgin name Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit, God Himself. Her righteous husband, Joseph, to whom she was engaged, not wanting to disgrace her, decided to divorce her secretly. But God sent his angel to Joseph. As Joseph was pondering the putting away of his teenage virgin wife, the angel says to him, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit” (Matt 1:21). Righteous Joseph would take the message of the angel to heart and keep Mary (vv. 24, 25). The Meaning of Immanuel Matthew tells us what Immanuel means—“God with us.” What does this all mean? Immanuel, “God with us,” expresses the very heart of God, informing earth, that God is love. John writes, “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). The coming of Immanuel is God expressing His divine love to sinful man. In another place John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning… The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-2, 14). This is Immanuel before and after His advent—The Word in heaven before taking up residence among us. Conclusion So when we open those gifts, we need to remember the ultimate gift—Jesus Christ. When we break bread with our families and friends, we need to remember Him who truly is the bread of life—Jesus Christ. And when we share those laughs and smiles, we need to remember Him who brought those laughs and smiles—Jesus Christ. All quotations were taken from the HCSB.