Thursday, December 15, 2016

The First Emmanuel Event

Emmanuel…God with us.
This is the amazing fact on which this entire Christmas season is established.  But just when did this “Emmanuel event” actually happen? Did the Messiah's advent into that Bethlehem stable occur on the 25th of December or not? Well, my friends, whichever date you end up with as the birthday of Jesus, you must understand that the most important issue is what happened about 9 months before! That's right  – it is the conception of Jesus that is the true “Emmanuel event,” the moment when God was first with us.  Christmas was only the revelation...the unwrapping of the Christmas present.

We celebrate Jesus' birthday and glorify God for the astounding miracle of the virgin birth.  That's certainly appropriate and good to do.  But our celebration should include a joyous appreciation of the virgin conception, that moment when Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit and the Incarnation truly began. That awesome miracle is the real “Emmanuel event” - the turning point in history that not only presents compelling evidence of the love and power of our overcoming God, but a severe warning to a culture that so callously undermines the lives of children in the womb.

So, in the festive celebrations of this Christmas season, let's certainly take care to treasure the “Emmanuel event” that preceded Christmas and also learn its lessons.

(The above painting is “The Annunciation” by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898)