Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
"What is your favorite name or characteristic of God?" is an almost impossible question to answer because there are so many attributes of God I adore. But if pressed to pick just one it would be Immanuel, God with us. In that one simple name is depth that is beyond our comprehension... a mixture of majesty and intimacy that is unmatched.
The majesty of Immanuel is described this way in John 1:1-5. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
All of that majesty chose to become intimately acquainted with us by humbling Himself into the confines of a human body so that He could dwell among us and show us the grace and truth of who the Father is (John 1:14). Have you ever really thought about an infinite God choosing to spend nine months in the womb of one of his creations? He then spent 33 years experiencing the human experience. Scripture records that He was hungry, thirsty, and tired. For every emotion we have had, Jesus has experienced it. Great joy and also great sorrow. Jesus could have miraculously appeared on the earth in any way He chose, but He choose to fully know our human experience.
Why? So that we might know God fully. He came to be a living, breathing expression of the Father. This is the gift of Christmas. His life, everything He did and said, was designed to speak of the Father's extravagant love and heart for His people.
You may often wish that you could have met Jesus when He walked this earth. How amazing would that have been to look into His eyes and see His smile. While we may not have that privilege in 2013, Jesus is still Immanuel. He is still with us. Regardless of what this Christmas brings you, whether it is sorrow or joy, Jesus knows. And more important, He cares. He is still the active expression of the extravagant love that God has for you. He is still with you.
Today on Christmas, may you drink deeply of the truest gift you have ever received... God loves you so much that He will go to any lengths necessary to show you that He is Immanuel, God with you.