I spend a lot of my quiet time with God, reading the prophets. In them, I hear God’s heartfelt cry for his people to “turn to him and live!” He speaks of what he does for his people and would do much, much more if only they would seek him, seek his face.
Isaiah 45:21b-23New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
There is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is no one besides me.
22 Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
Jeremiah 24:6-8New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
6 I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
Jeremiah 31:33-34New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Isaiah 7:14New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman[b] is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.
Matthew 1:22-24New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,
This time of year we can see how much he loves us, when he made a way to come down and be with us through his son, Jesus. This baby would grow up among us and show us the way to walk with God. He is Immanuel, God with us.
I love the phrase in Jeremiah “They shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Immanuel. I belong to him. We belong to him. He cares. He loves. He is with us.
May you experience the joy of God's love and Immanuel this holiday season.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!