Immanuel, God with us

Published 1:07 pm Sunday, January 7, 2024

The years can usher in a lot of changes — not all of them pleasant or welcomed. However there’s one difference that the passing years bring that is a treasured experience for me. It’s the Christmas story’s meaning and the deeper revelations each year of what it means to me.

God is described in multiple ways in the Bible, and He is ascribed some awesome, matchless names. It’s His name, Immanuel, that’s become my favorite which I tend to associate with Christmas.

“God with us!” The measure of that name is beyond description. My finite brain wants to engage the depth of its meaning, but I realize that would go beyond the limitations of my thinking.

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Even though I can’t assimilate the expanse of such a title, I daily draw from its strength and assurance. When life assigns tasks I know that I’m not equipped to complete, “God with us” reminds me that I can call on His ability because He is with me.

When there are decisions to make that could alter our tomorrows, I remember Immanuel and find assurance that His wisdom and leadership are as close as calling His name because “He is with me.”

My family kid me about my serious lack of direction and the ease in which I can get lost. I’ve never denied my inferior radar — it’s a fact I’ve accepted, but I don’t get nervous or panicky when I’m traveling new territory alone. I remind myself — often — “Immanuel is with me.”

During December I enjoyed quiet times when I was able to meditate on the miracle of God with us. In one of those times, Immanuel turned my thoughts to an additional viewpoint. How cognizant was I that God was with me when I answered my spouse with a short or irritable reply?

Did I always consider “God with us” when He heard me make a negative comment about another of his creations? Was I really aware that God was with me when I shortened my prayer time or Bible reading to do something much less important?

I have always been quicker to cry out to Immanuel when in pain or trouble than I have been to praise Him for the “normal” days and the countless blessings of life I experience every day. When in the languishing, feeling-near-death viruses that are prone to attack us all, I have no hesitancy in calling out to Immanuel, confident that He is with me and that I desperately need Him.

My December revelations gave me challenges that I want to address in the coming year. God’s coming to earth in a flesh and blood body is a reality that’s almost too incredible to believe, but I do believe it and want to live like I believe it as in 24/7, 365 days a year: God with us.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.