My December, 2014, column for The Bellringer, the monthly newsletter of my internship congregation (St. Peter Lutheran Church in Dubuque, Iowa). Enjoy!

God Is With Us

And the Word became flesh and lived among us. – John 1:14 

One of my favorite Christmas songs to listen to each year is the song Emmanuel. It’s by Michael W. Smith, and the only lyrics are the word “Emmanuel” repeated over and over, interspersed with a few other titles of Jesus.

For those of you reading online, here’s the song:

The word “Emmanuel” means “God is with us,” and it’s found in Matthew 1:23, when an angel of the Lord comes to the virgin Mary and uses it to explain who her son Jesus will be. The child to be born will be God with us, fully God and fully human.

I think I like the word “Emmanuel” because this title for Jesus summarizes what’s unique about Christianity. As Christians, we worship God who has come to us, to be with us. Other religions might claim revelations or prophets from God, but Christianity is unique in claiming that God has personally come to live with us.

The church word for this claim is “incarnation.” I like that word, because it makes me think of flesh, of meat (in Spanish, the word for meat is carne). In the incarnation, God gets flesh.

Our Creator didn’t just put us here and leave us. God isn’t just “up there” somewhere, majestically looking down at us. In Jesus, God has come to be with us. God understands everything we struggle with. God understands all of our joys and our sufferings because Jesus suffered too.

As you prepare to celebrate this Christmas, remember the miracle you’re celebrating. Out of love for us, the eternal Creator of the world has chosen to become flesh and live with us. What an amazing Christmas gift!

In Christ,
Daniel Flucke, Pastoral Intern

God Is With Us – December 2014 Newsletter
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