December: A Word from the Pastor

The Christmas season marks a most memorable event in human history.

The transcendent God of the universe sent His Son to take human flesh upon Himself and become the God-Man.  The angel of the Lord made this announcement to Joseph, saying,“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name ‘Immanuel,’ which being translated means, ‘God with us’ ” (Matthew 1:23).

The first time these words were heard were in the days of Isaiah.

Ahaz, the king of Judah, was surrounded in Jerusalem by two kings who were intent on destruction.  The Lord promised a sign of deliverance.  A child would be born.  And, before the child was old enough to refuse evil and choose good, Jerusalem would be delivered from the invading armies.  These words were designed to encourage Ahaz that God was indeed with them.  He would deliver; He would save.  The promise was fulfilled in Ahaz’s days, but it was also restated in promise form when announcing the birth of Christ.

This time the whole world was surrounded by the eternal assaults of the two “kings” of sin and death.

The situation was hopeless, for no one had the power to defeat these mighty foes.  And yet, in the gentleness of divine love, God assured Joseph and all the world that these ominous enemies would be destroyed by the very presence of God.  Joseph and Mary were to name the baby “Jesus” for He would save His people from their sins but he would also “reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:33).  “God with us” was the title that “they” the people would identify with Jesus.  He was with them as He  died upon the cross and with them to reign as king.

Today, we continue to acknowledge that “God is with us”. 

He is with us in salvation; He is with us in kingdom.  The enemies have been defeated and they will one day be removed forever.  We live in the certainty of this hope.  Dear Christian, never fear!  God is with us.  He has declared us to be righteous in Christ; He is sanctifying us in Christ, and he will glorify us in Christ.  Our hope is not in ourselves.  Our hope is in Jesus who is “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).  The promise made shortly before the first Christmas is still true today.  Glory to God!

-Gary W. Custis