Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
and shall call His name Immanuel
“No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.” Those words from Phillips Brooks’ much-loved hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” point to the very heart of Christmas. God's own dear Son, Jesus came into our broken world to rescue us from our sin and give all who would put their faith in Him a new and vital relationship with God.
In a letter to a friend decades after he wrote the hymn, Brooks poignantly described the outcome of this relationship in his own life: “I cannot tell you how personal this grows to me. He is here. He knows me and I know Him. It is no figure of speech. It is the realest thing in the world, and every day makes it realer. And one wonders with delight what it will grow to as the years go on.”
Brooks’ calm assurance of God’s presence in his life reflects one of the names of the Lord prophesied by Isaiah: “The virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The Gospel of Matthew gives us the meaning of the Hebrew name Immanuel: “God with us” (1:23).
God drew near to us through the Lord Jesus, so that we could know Him personally and be with Him forever. His loving presence with us is the greatest gift of all.
Loving Lord Jesus, thank You for giving Yourself to me through Your life on earth, death on the cross, and resurrection. Please help me to live for You today and forever! Amen.