Immanuel – God With Us

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:8).

Did you know that you can take your dog to see Santa Claus? I guess the saying is true, “Dogs are people too” and I wish I’d have known! It would’ve been fun to watch my neighbors 100+ pound golden doodle slobber and shed all over Santa’s velvety lap. A recent news story told of a boy whose father was building a house. The little boy was afraid the chimney was too small for Santa, so in an effort to reassure his son, the builder hired a crane to lift and then lower Santa into the chimney.

My Dad was an air-traffic controller and often worked the late shift on Christmas Eve. I remember him calling the house, faithfully every year, to assure us that the sleigh had been spotted on the radar and Santa was on his way. As a child, although my family and I often attended Christmas Eve services at church, the birth of Jesus wasn’t a huge part of our Christmas celebration. I kind of understood that a baby had been born in a manger, to a virgin mother (I’m sure I didn’t really understand what that meant when I was 5) that His name was Jesus and He was God’s Son. Back then, at least in my family, Santa seemed to make more sense.

Today I marvel at the fact that the whole world celebrates Christmas, and whether everyone knows it or not, it’s all because of this baby that I once knew so little about.

“The God who flung planets into space and kept them whirling around and around, the God who made the universe with just a word, the one who could do anything at all — was making himself small. And coming down…to rescue the world.” (The Jesus Storybook Bible)

The stories about kids and dogs and Santa are thin silver linings around an otherwise grim holiday season. Sadly, hunger, poverty, unemployment, foreclosures, murder, suicide, destruction, wars and rumors of war make the bigger headlines. While it’s true that Santa and his reindeer, his goodies and his toys, bring momentary happiness (for those who have the money) we need more, oh so much more, than a few minutes on Santa’s lap, we need a Savior, a Rescuer, one who’s enduring and eternal. The God of the universe displays His love, faithfulness, grace and forgiveness through the most generous (and undeserved) gift of His Son.

His name is Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…Immanuel, God with us.

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