Four Reflections on Emmanuel, God with Us, the Incarnation of our Savior

  1. What kind of a God humiliates himself to suffer with his creation? God, in your great compassion, the prophet Nehemiah proclaims, you did not abandon us in the wilderness (Nehemiah 9:19). This is the kind of God Jehovah is – one who will not abandon us to wander in the wilderness alone. Our God steps into the wilderness to be one of us. He enters a world of dust and disorder and everyday defeats. In Jesus we see a God whose strength is revealed in weakness. Jesus is the God who is with us: self-emptying, vulnerable to exhaustion and hunger and grief and pain. Jesus is the God who is with us: harassed, oppressed, disinherited, overlooked.
  2. What kind of Creator dies a shameful death among his creation? Hagar, rejected and left to die in the desert, calls out to God for rescue: You are The God Who Sees Me, she proclaims (Genesis 16:13). I have heard the cries of my people in their distress, Creator said, I see their suffering. I am coming down to liberate them from their oppressors (Exodus 3:7-8). He rescued us, Paul writes, from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son (Colossians 1:13-14). God comes to us in Jesus, in solidarity with our powerlessness over evil. Only a suffering God can help us, Bonhoeffer writes, as he awaits death in a Nazi prison. God comes to us in Jesus and dies as one of us so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free us who through fear of death were subject to slavery all our lives (Hebrews 2:14-15).
  3. Emmanuel is not an abstract concept. Jesus is the God who is with us in our loneliness, calling us into his family, providing the Light when the Way is in shadows. With us and for us, never forsaken, never forgotten. Emmanuel is the God who loves us.
  4. If I ascend to the crown of the sky, above breath, you are there.
    If I descend to my ancestors, beyond memory, you are there.
    If I put on daylight like wings
    and fly to the unraveling edge of the sea, you are there.
    Even so, your hand guides me.
    Even so, you hold me fast.

    (adapted from Psalm 139)


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About this series

“God With Us: the uncommon advent of our Savior” is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the CUWAA community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God’s Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound enthusiasm and anticipation through the Holy Spirit.