Of all the prophecies given to the people of Israel throughout the centuries, this one spoken by Isaiah to King Ahaz must have been among the most mysterious and wonderful: “… Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The Scripture records no obvious fulfillment of these words in the days of King Ahaz. Thoughtful Israelites must have wondered at the meaning of this prophetic word. Who is the virgin, and how will she conceive a son? And how, exactly, will this son be “God with us”?
The mystery of the prophecy was revealed in the birth of Jesus, but the wonder of it only increased. The virgin was Mary, a young girl of humble background who conceived the baby Jesus when the Holy Spirit came upon her (Luke 1:35). And Jesus was “God with us” in the most glorious way: God the Son became one of us, a true man, by taking to himself a human nature. In the person of Jesus Christ, and in his incarnation, God has “dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
And he came that we might we dwell with him, forever. When Jesus offered himself on the cross as atoning sacrifice, he overcame the alienation that separated us from God because of our guilt and sin. By faith in Christ, we are reconciled to our Creator so that we might know him, and be in his presence, as our loving Father in Heaven.
This is the true meaning of the Christmas story. In the birth of Christ, we have received the greatest imaginable gift – the gift of God himself, that we might live in joyful communion with him forever and ever.
Soli Deo Gloria!