Jesus, our Immanuel

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By Jaime V. Cortez

The Good News

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ONCE again the Christian world celebrates Christmas. On this joyful occasion we commemorate the birthday of Jesus, the Son of the Most High God. We marvel at the mystery of the Incarnation -- how the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient Creator of everyone and of everything seen and unseen humbled himself by taking the form of a man, having been conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin.

Christmas is the long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promise to provide a way in restoring man’s lost relationship with his Maker. It was the realization of the Old Testament prophesies on the nativity of the Messiah, from Moses to John the Baptist. As the prophet Isaiah declared about 700 years before the first Christmas, ”Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Chapter 7, verse 14). He added, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Chapter 9, verse 6).

The baby Jesus was born on a manger -- the owner of the universe in a poor man’s stable. His first visitors were shepherds -- the greatest God in the company of lowly workers. He took the line of David, with forefathers that included kings and ordinary folks, the famous and the unknown, the wealthy and the destitute, the holy and the sinners -- yes, the perfect God emerging from imperfect ancestors.

Yes, Jesus was born with simple beginnings. He chose to be poor, that we may be rich. He chose to be humble, that we may be exalted. And he chose to be truly human, that we may experience the Divine.

About 33 years later he took our pains and sorrows, that we may be healed, and he bore the punishment due us for our sins, that we may be forgiven. He gave up his life, that we may have its fullness. Indeed, from beginning to end, he is and will always be our Immanuel -- the God who is with us.

Jesus, therefore, is the fullest expression of the Father’s love. On Christmas we are invited to reflect once again on one of the most popular verses in the Bible, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Have you accepted this amazing love?

If not yet, Christmas is the most wonderful time to do so. Repent, believe the gospel and follow Christ.

If you already did, how fitting it is to reminisce the joy of accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord, or perhaps to rekindle the fire of our first love for him, in case it has grown cold.

After all, this is what Christmas is really all about. Merry Christmas to one and all…

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 19, 2013.


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