“And holy is his name.’”

Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:49 (NRSV)

God With Us

Giving birth involves great effort. It is an earthy as well as an earthly labor, with suffering and strenuous toil, drawing all the mother has within her to bring forth this small and vulnerable life. Afterwards, she is spent, exhausted from the work of growing and birthing a new human being. Imagine, then, the trembling and drained young virgin holding her newborn son. In her heart, she rejoices in his healthy cry, in the strength of his pull as he drinks in her milk.

Perhaps she sheds soft tears of thanksgiving. Through her the protevangelium had been fulfilled this night, the first gospel oracle, spoken in God’s own voice, “the seed of the woman” who would one day have victory over evil itself.

This is a sacred moment, one held in hush, for Messiah is here, God is with us. Before the heavens spread open with all the angelic host singing hallelujah, there is this quiet tableau. “Your name is holy,” Mary must have whispered. “Your name is Immanuel,” Joseph would have whispered.

Matthew’s testimony captures something of this sense, for the Lord was with God’s people in the most intimate way yet, as a person, fully God and fully human. The Word of God made flesh was how John’s testimony began, a mystical mystery so incomprehensible that it still takes our breath away. And the writer of Hebrews says this God/Man is like us in every way.  

Christmas Carol

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing:

O come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” John Francis Wade (1841)

Prayer

You are God with us, God and human, the One Who champions us against all the forces of darkness and evil. All of scripture, from first to last, is about You. You are the Alpha and Omega of human history.

And they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).

Matthew’s Testimony, Matthew 1:23 (NRSV)
By Albin Egger-Lienz – repro from artbook, Public Domain

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