This fall we began a sermon series that follows the schedule of our new Sunday School curriculum, the Gospel Project. It has been exciting to begin this journey through the entire Bible! We have learned that the Old Testament is the story of how God worked out His plan to fulfill His promise of a Savior from sin. This is what the season of Advent is about. Advent simply means “arrival.” In the church year, Advent is the time leading up to the “arrival” of Christmas. During this time, we remember how the believers of the Old Testament eagerly waited for the “arrival” of the promised Messiah. Now that Jesus has come, we also look forward to His second “arrival” when He will judge the world and take believers home to heaven with Him.
Here is another word for you to learn. “Immanuel” (or “Emmanuel”) is often used in the songs of Advent. It means, “God with us.” It comes from Isaiah 7:14, which is a prophecy about Jesus.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (ESV)
When Jesus arrived at Christmas, He was “God with us.” God visited earth. He walked in our dirt. He experienced our pain. He breathed our air. He tasted our food. As the Shepherds visited the baby in the manger, they were in the presence of their almighty and holy Creator.
Our sin separates us from God, but Immanuel came to earth to do away with that separation. He not only walked in our dirt, but He took the guilt of our sin upon Himself. “God With Us” paid for our sin on the cross and rose again, so that instead of being separated, we are now united with Him (Romans 6:5).
Before Christ ascended to heaven, He promised, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 ESV). In other words, Christ continues to be Immanuel, “God with us,” as we live for Him and wait for His return. When that day comes, we will fully experience “God with us” as we live in His presence forever! Through His first “arrival”, Christ won the victory which we will fully see at His second “arrival.” This is the joy of Advent!
Come we to welcome Emmanuel King who came with no crown or throne Helpless He lay, the Invincible Maker of Mary, now Mary’s son O what wisdom to save us all Shepherds, sages, before Him fall Grace and majesty, what humility Come on bended knee, adore Him (“Sing We the Song of Emmanuel” by Matt Boswell, Matt Papa, and Stuart Townend. ©2015 Messenger Hymns)