Immanuel

December 22, 2016
by Lori Ciccanti

Proverbs 30:4 – Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know! (NASB)

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (NASB)

Years ago, the pastor of my church invited a rabbi from a local synagogue to host a traditional Passover meal for our congregation during the Easter season. It was an interesting experience, tasting various ritual foods, such as matzo, bitter herbs, and charoses — a mixture of apples, nuts, and cinnamon. Afterward, I had a thought-provoking discussion with the rabbi regarding the Jewish Messiah and his interpretation of some Old Testament prophecies. In particular, I asked him how he would explain today's verse from Isaiah. In his view, the Hebrew word alma, translated "virgin", should be interpreted "young maiden".

Subsequently, I researched the word alma and found that it occurs seven times in the Old Testament. In every instance, the term implies a young girl of child-bearing age who is a virgin. The ancient scribes agreed with this interpretation when they translated the Bible from Hebrew to Greek. This manuscript, called the Septuagint, was transcribed two hundred years before Christ; therefore, it is an unbiased and reliable witness. But more importantly, the event that Isaiah described was said to be a "sign", so it had to be something quite extraordinary.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was born of a virgin in fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. This miracle was a plan conceived by God so that the King of the universe could be made into the likeness of humanity without inheriting our sinful nature. For this reason, the Babe born in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago can rightfully be called "Immanuel" — "God with us".

With Christmas Day fast approaching, let us take time to reflect on not only the wonder and mystery of His incarnation, but also the amazing power of His life, death, and resurrection. These profound truths will motivate our hearts to praise and worship as we celebrate once again the birth of our Saviour and King.

Prayer: Sovereign Lord, thank You for the miracle of the virgin birth which made it possible for You to come to this earth as one of us, yet without the stain of sin. May our response to this mystery draw us closer to You as we acknowledge that You are not bound by the limitations of our natural world. Touch our lives with Your resurrection power to experience the miraculous, while we seek to maintain a dynamic relationship with You forevermore. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>

Ocean View, Delaware, USA


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great insight and encouragement Lori. Have a Merry Christmas.


    Good word today Lori.
    Blessings.


    Lori,
    And the scripture was filled!


    Thanks Lori, always good theology!
    Blessings.


    Once again your message affected me. Thank you for continuing to inspire us readers.


    Lori, thanks for sharing this devotional with us. May you and your family have a blessed Christmas. May God’s peace be upon all of you. Blessings.


    Thanks for your devotion today. May your Christmas be a blessed one! I don’t always notice the thought for today below each devotion but today’s is a wowzer!


    Hi Lori,
    Your exceptional devotion offers me the chance to wish you and Lou a wonderful Christmas with those you love.
    The devotional was informative and inspirational.


    Dear Lori:
    Thank you so much for your wonderful devotional. Beautiful words and sentiment.
    I also wanted to wish you, Lou and your family and church a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year. You are truly loved and appreciated.


    Hi Lori,
    The virgin birth is indeed impossible to explain. We have to just believe, and those of us who do get such comfort from the prophesies and the fulfilment.
    Thank you for your message this morning and the information about the word ‘Alma” I learned something again today.
    A Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.


    Hi Lori.
    I just read this and have taken this chance to write you
    Thank you so much for your friendship and teaching. I really needed it again this year. And treasure it also.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS and A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. And may God richly bless your whole family with perfect health and happiness.


    Hi Lori:
    I always love your insightful devotions. Thanks so much for “Immanuel” and for declaring the truth of God’s amazing plan in sending us the Messiah as one of us, yet without sin. What an awesome God we have!
    Rejoicing today in the good news of our precious Lord and Saviour and praying that many will hear this word today and come to a saving knowledge of Him, the One Who came that we might have life in all its fullness.
    Blessings to you and a joyous Christmas.

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