Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emanuel” (which means, God with us). – Matthew 1:18-24 ESV
God with us! That is what Christmas is all about, GOD WITH US! God had a plan to fix the first Adam’s screw up in the Garden- see Genesis 3:1-. IN the Beginning God was WITH US! And then we decided that we weren’t going to listen to God, instead we will make decisions for ourselves, and we were banished from God’s garden of Eden, from God’s presence: Therefore the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. So He drove out the man and stationed cherubim on the east side of the Garden of Eden, along with a whirling sword of flame to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:23-25) Since that moment, God has been in the MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION; working to bring Man and God back into UNION. This is the gift of Christmas, GOD WITH US- again.
Leader; When children run down the stairs or run out of their room on Christmas morning they are looking at multiple gifts, and God did, and does- the same for us. Look at all the gifts. The gift of a new beginning! Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! Most great gifts are NEW. Right after God tells us of the gift of NEW BEGINNINGS, He then tells us of the GIFT OF RECONCILIATION: All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) Notice the gift of substitutionary punishment; a ‘Get out of Hell”- free card!
Conduit, GOD WITH US, this is the gift of Christmas! Many soldiers are fighting for the freedoms of our country in lands far away. They spend time away from their loved ones, their family for months and years to sacrifice, so we may live in an ever-shrinking free society. Sometimes soldiers get to take leave at the Holidays and surprise their family, their loved ones and show up unannounced for the special times. The greatest gift we could ask for is to have him\her here with us at this special time. GOD WITH US, what a gift! The word “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation.” This is appropriate since Jesus is Jehovah, the second person of the Trinity, who became flesh and is our salvation, our redeemer- He paid the price, covered our tab; What a gift! For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) This Christmas season enjoy the Peace of God as you enjoy Peace with God because of the Gift of Emanuel; GOD WITH US! Thank you Jesus!