The Invitation of Immanuel: Day Thirteen, 2019 Christmas Devotional for Students
We are loved by a God who makes promises and keeps promises. Join us, along with your teenagers, for a 16-day Christmas devotional on the Rooted blog. Each devotional will center around Messianic prophecies – promises – from the Old Testament, and the wonder that each one came to be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Every day we will release a new devotional that you can either print out or forward along to the teenagers in your care. O Come Let Us Adore Him!
The Invitation of Immanuel: The “With Us” God
“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Sometimes it is hard for us to feel God’s presence and see His hand at work in our lives. Maybe this Christmas, you know this feeling all too well; everything around you is merry and bright, but you can’t seem to connect to Jesus at all. In today’s passage, King Ahaz wants a sign from God. You may have been in such a moment, when you felt like the overwhelming nature of your circumstances and situation had blocked out your view of God, your sense of his nearness and love. Though Ahaz doesn’t want to challenge God by asking for a sign, the Lord graciously gives him the promise of Immanuel: there will be a virgin who will have a son who will be called Immanuel.
Fast forward several hundred years. The Immanuel sign comes to pass in Matthew 1. The chaos of this moment erupts in the life of a newly engaged couple named Joseph and Mary. In an indescribable turn of events, Mary is pregnant and has been told that the baby is from God. This is a once-in-an-eternity type of miracle that must have been difficult for the teenage couple to wrap their heads around. Matthew states that Joseph had planned to divorce Mary quietly (Matthew 1:19) so as not to make a scene, when the Lord came to him to confirm Mary’s story (Matthew 1:20).
In the midst of the crazy and confusing moment that this couple finds themselves in, we receive the definition and hope of the promise of Immanuel. Immanuel means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). The message of Christmas is that Jesus came to be the “with us” God.
The invitation of Immanuel is that you have a God who is with you in Jesus. Though you may find yourself in circumstances that seem too deep to bear, Jesus is with you. Though you may be confused over where Jesus is in the midst of your pain, Jesus is with you. Though you may struggle to see Jesus’s hand still at work, Jesus is with you. Jesus is there to be the One you can cry out to when you have no words, the One you can rely on when you feel like everyone else has turned away, and the One who is not done using you even when you feel like you have gone too far. Jesus is the “with us” God who remains constant even in the middle of our changing lives and circumstances.
Questions for Reflection
- What place in your life today do you need to be most reminded that “Jesus is with you”?
- Who is someone you know that is going through a difficult time that you can remind of the invitation of Immanuel?
- How can you remind yourself today that Jesus truly is with you?
Lord, help me to have the eyes to see your presence with me in all moments of life. Help me to trust you and rely on your presence today. Amen.
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