Reading Matthew 1: 22-25 (NRSV)
Joseph dreamed and the prophets foretold the coming of Emmanuel, God with us.
What does “God with us” mean?
God might be like us with our two young grandchildren at a crowded holiday fair. I thought the children would enjoy it, but worried about losing them among so many distractions. They wore name-tags in case we got separated. We let them choose their activities, with some guidance. We consoled them when a game did not yield the prize they wanted. We called their names when they got distracted; we held hands; we stayed together.
Perhaps that is what “God with us” means. God created an amazing world for us to enjoy, knowing we could get lost among all the distractions. We might want something that God knows will not satisfy. God calls our name to redirect us. If we listen, we can avoid such temptations. If we insist, God lets us choose, and comforts us when the outcome disappoints. God stays with us throughout.
Emmanuel… God with us.
God does not just speak to us in a dream or through a prophet. God came to be with us in Jesus.
Listen for your name, hold hands, stay together; God is with us.
Let us pray. Ever-present God, thank you for sending Jesus to show us what you mean by Emmanuel. Forgive us for insisting on going our own ways. Help us to listen, hold hands, and stay together with you. Amen.