Growing up in the US, our University Fellowship group was called Emmanuel. I remember making a banner for the chapel (we called it the Fishbowl), and I was surprised that after all these years, that same banner was still up in the room. (It was just the word Emmanuel typset in Trajan).
And as Barry was speaking this Sunday, he spoke of Christmas and Emmanuel. (it’s a sermon well worth listening to) The realisation that God is with us. It’s an amazing realisation isn’t it? The realisation that God, in Jesus, was truly among us. He experienced life here, felt the constraints of time, the loss of life, the helplessness of it. And through it all, Jesus’ life here, he lived with the purpose of conquering evil once and for all.
God with Us. Emmanuel.
Christmas doesn’t end, because Christ is still with us. God is still with us. And even more so now, the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of God, is with us today. As Paul writes in Ephesians 1:13,14:
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Awesome isn’t it? Realising that God is with us?
It’s a perfect segue to 2010. Our theme for 2010 is Joshua 1:9. That we, followers of Christ, live with a strength and courage that comes from knowing that God is with us. Emmanuel.