Apples, Oranges, Immanuel, or Emmanuel

family-by-fire

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” (A direct quote from Pastor Alison and can be used in a sing along with Andy Williams!)  You may think that Norman Rockwell had it right when you are sitting by the fire with hot chocolate in your hand waiting for the snow to cover the ground.  Obviously he wasn’t from Wisconsin, because in April we’re still freezing by a dead fire wondering where this 20″ snow forecast is coming from, but I digress.

One thing that does happen this time of year is the discussions about, the birth and place of Jesus.  Was he born on December 25?  Should we even celebrate it?  Wasn’t he born in the fall during Sukkoth?   Did the Christmas Tree originate from pagan beliefs? Do people really roast chestnuts on an open fire?  And, most important, what is figgy pudding?  The discussion can get a little intense and cause divisions in the body of Christ.  I mean, we can’t even decide if Immanuel Emmanuel is spelled with an “I” or an “E”.

I had the answers to these questions in my twenties, but I have let go a bit over the years.  Besides, that is not the reason I am asking you to spend 4 minutes perusing this blog.  What makes this day so wonderful is that Emmanuel Immanuel “God is with us” has occurred – whichever day you may believe that it happened.  (We all have a 1 in 365 chance to be right.)

Ahaz was king of Jerusalem and an alliance of three kings was coming against him.  Isaiah 7: 2 states that the hearts of the people were trembling like trees in a storm.  While the king Ahaz was out measuring how much water they had to withstand a siege, Isaiah and his son showed us with a word from God for the king.  He stated that the army that was allied against him was already defeated in God’s eyes and Isaiah challenged Ahaz to stand firm in his faith (Vs 9).  Then he stated this incredible promise:  if you want proof that you are going to be safe, God will give you a sign, the virgin will be with child and she will call his name Immanuel Emmanuel (Vs 14).  Now that wasn’t going to happen for 600 years so what kind of promise was that?  Well Ahaz, you may be worried about your circumstances today, but God is bigger than our daily circumstances.  He has a plan for Jerusalem and it is not to be taken over by these three kings.  Emmanuel, Immanuel is going to come and he is going to die for us in Jerusalem, so the city has to exist.

Don’t spend your energy worrying about things we have no control over.  God  has a plan for our lives that ends up with us dwelling with God forever.  All this is because He came to dwell with us. Emmanuel Immanuel.

So, is September 23 the real Christmas?  Who knows. Just rejoice in the fact that He is here and soon we will be there forever.  So, get out the hot chocolate and take it away Andy Williams. It is a wonderful time of the year.

P.S. Emmanuel is right is you are Greek and Immanuel is right if you are Hebrew; one less argument. (sound of a mic dropping)

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