“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ ” Matthew 1:22-23
God’s always been with us.
The wooing voice of the creator, gently coaxing his disobedient creations from the bushes where they’d been hiding, wasn’t calling to them because he didn’t know where they were or what they’d done. He was always with them but he still called to them so they’d know that if he could he’d give them the choice as to whether they’d back come to him or not.
Father Abraham began his sojourning with God in a nation far from the land of promise and learned that no matter where his travels or his lies might take him the God who’d called him was always there.
Moses and the children of Israel felt Gods hand guiding and providing through long decades of travels. The cloud of God’s presence, beneath whose shelter they’d found refuge in the early days of their travels, soon found its home within a tabernacle house of worship which God had commanded them to make for him so that he could “dwell among them.”
In Psalm 139 King David would celebrate his own experience with God’s nearness with these words, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.”
But our consciousness of the reality of God’s nearness isn’t always in harmony with with his proximity. And even when we are aware that he’s near it’s often more with the resentful awareness a child might have toward a parent or supervisor who always seems to see and know every misbehavior they commit. The attitudes shared between child and guardian are such that the reality is clearly demonstrated; they may not be far apart physically but they are, in fact, not together.
But God wants to be with us. He created us in his image so that we could know him, and understand him, and love him in ways that reflect the ways that he knows, and loves, and understands us.
Our creator came. The one through whom all things were created became incarnate as one of his own creation so that he could cause us to know the fullness of the reality of his desire to be with us.
In Jesus, Immanuel, God With Us, we have the embodiment of God’s desire, the physical manifestation of his hearts cry to ours. “I’m with you. Will you let me be with you?”