The Most Beautiful Word on Earth

The Most Beautiful Word on Earth

 

Day 10

 

 

‘All this took place to fulfill…’ 

Matthew, as the narrator of this first Christmas story, breaks into the storyline to make sure we don’t miss the point. The point of everything. The point that makes sense of Christmas, of Scripture, of human life on earth all together…

 ‘All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’’

Matthew 1:22-23

And just in case we don’t get the message, just in case our Hebrew is a little rusty, he loud-speaker-explains it and megaphone-emphasises it- “which means ‘God with us’”,  just in case we misunderstand. 

Because we do. Constantly. 

‘Jesus birth is not just something that happened’ Matthew is saying, ‘it’s a promise that was fulfilled and a story that we are all a part of. A long story, an old story. The Long story of grace. The story of everything.

Emmanuel. 

God is with us. 

This word, it holds everything within it. Every plan of God, every explanation of His actions, every motivation of His heart. It is the one word that sums up the story of the Bible from start to finish. God is with us.

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In the beginning God created a place for us, humankind and Himself, to dwell together in the garden of Eden, adjacent to His throne (Genesis 2:8-9) He was with us. We were with Him. 

And then we left. And we broke (Genesis 3). Everything. 

So God worked for renewed creation within the lives of Adam’s family line and Noah’s family line and then finally Abraham’s family to whom He promised His presence…

“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

Genesis 17:7-9

He called Abraham and Israel to be different. To show the world what it looked like to be near God. What life could be like when God was with us. 

“What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” Deuteronomy 4:7

And then they left. Again and again and again. And they broke. Again and again and again, this cycle of closeness and leaving, relationship and breaking, rolling down through time, until this moment. This hushed moment when God breaks into time and an angel breaks into Joseph’s dream, and Matthew cannot help but break into the story to add what He fears we’ll miss… Don’t miss this moment! Don’t miss this point! The point of everything.

 ‘All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).’

Matthew 1:22-23 (emphasise added)

Emmanuel.

It just may be the most beautiful word on earth. 

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God came Himself to be with us that first Christmas long ago. To break the curse that consistently broke our relationship with Him. That broke us. To show us what it looks like when God dwells with us. For us to meet Him face to face. God taking on skin. God stretching out on manger straw. God breathing into his infant lungs the cold night air of earth. This earth. the one with all the pain and disappointment and the fear. The one where we have learned to make do without God with us because we didn’t understand. His heart.

That night in the dark, with His first cry through brand new infant lungs, God declared war on everything that keeps us from Him. A battle cry that set things in motion that will crescendo on the cross with His cry of ‘It is finished’. 

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Everything that separates us is finished. Dealt with. Over. Gone. 

God came to be with us. To invite us to be with Him. To allow us the opportunity to choose to be with Him.

Here in His first chapter Matthew earnestly makes sure we hear this message. And then at the end of his last chapter, he reiterates it again, as this baby, now a man, who has passed through torture and death to save us promises this promise that is the story of God all along… 

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Matthew 28:20b

I am with you.

I am with you in your wins and your losses, I am with you in your joy and your pain, I am with you in your bitter disappointments.

I am with you.

I am with you when everything crashes down around you and you just can’t find your feet.

I am with you when you just can’t get yourself together and it all feels like too much. 

I am with you when you doubt and when you fear. When you question and when you turn. I am with you. 

Waiting for you.

Be with me today.

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Emmanuel.

It’s the whole story of Scripture. From the beginning to the end…God is with us. 

‘Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’

Revelation 21:1-4

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