Tag Archives: Immanuel


An angel of the Lord quoted Isaiah 8:8 to Joseph. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means God with us) (Matthew 1:23 ESV) This is not so much a name as a description of Jesus. He is God with us.

Psalm 147:3 reads, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” That is exactly what Jesus, God with us, did when He was on earth and He continues to do it today.

Mary Magdalene was delivered from seven demons according to Luke 8:8. The Bible does not give an account of that first meeting with Jesus. Mary was oppressed by negative emotions like anxiety, fear of rejection, unforgiveness, depression and feelings of worthlessness. She craved love.

Image by Pixabay

Jesus encountered Mary in private. He healed her spiritually, emotionally and physically. He became her friend. Mary was the first person to see Jesus resurrected. Jesus was Immanuel to her according to her character and her need.

The encounter with Saul, later Paul, was different. Saul was successful in his field with ambitions to climb the ladder. He was a driven man, zealous and prideful. He was confident and had the ear of important people. His meeting with Immanuel was not private. It was very public because it needed to be. Saul’s image was important to him. He was in company with his cohorts and followers when Jesus appeared to him. It is recorded in the Bible for anyone to read. Jesus healed him of his former ways to the extent that Paul was able to write, “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Phil 3:8)

Jesus has the same heart for each one of us as he had for Mary and Paul. He longs to be Immanuel to us, to heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. He deals with each of us individually, according to our personality and need. There is no “one size fits all.”

My Prayer

Jesus, Immanuel, You know me intimately and understand me completely. You know my wounds and You long to heal me. I trust You to be gentle when I need gentleness and firm when I need firmness. I commit myself into Your loving care. Amen.

Christmas without Trimmings

When I was a little girl, we would often have hot dogs or boerewors rolls for supper. We could choose whether to have it with trimmings or without. The trimmings usually consisted of fried onion and tomato, sometimes with grated cheese, or maybe mustard. Quite often the trimmings made the hot dog more messy but added to the enjoyment of it. However, the fried onion and tomato were never a substitute for the meal.

When I got old enough to start making my own clothes, I learned to use paper patterns. The pattern guide would list how much fabric to buy for each size and then at the end it would list the trimmings:- buttons or lace, ribbons or embellishments. These added to the satisfaction with the final product but lace and buttons can never be a substitute for a dress.

Christmas has trimmings and they vary from culture to culture. Some are universal. Time with family is often considered non-negotiable. The media has contributed to this belief that Christmas is not Christmas without family. However it is no more true than the fact that Christmas trees, cakes, crackers and presents are essentials for Christmas.

These Christmas trimmings add to our enjoyment of the celebration. Families forge their own traditions for Christmas. For some it means going to church together on Christmas morning, for others, having waffles for breakfast.

Some of us have had to do without trimmings this year, perhaps because of Covid lockdown restrictions, or geographical distance or the absence of loved ones who have passed away. Some have faced financial difficulties and can’t afford presents in wrapped boxes, or trees, or crackers.

Just as fried onion and tomatoes are not the meal, nor lace and buttons not the dress, Christmas trimmings, as enjoyable as they are, are not Christmas.

Christmas celebrates the fact that God, the Creator and Master of the universe, set His love upon us. He moved the line between infinite and finite so He could be with us. Forever. So that we can be with Him. Forever. He became flesh and for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame (Hebrew 12:2) so that He could remove the barrier of sin that kept us from being able to be with Him, where He is, forever.

No wonder the shepherds left their sheep and raced to Bethlehem, no wonder eastern astronomers followed a star that foretold a king.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23 NIV, quoting Isaiah 7:14)

God with us. That is Christmas. God with me, warts and all, because that’s where He longs to be.

Let us never confuse the Christmas trimmings with the real thing.

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday.