“And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which means God with us…” Matthew1:23

When we look around us in the world at all the refugees fleeing violence and war especially those in Aleppo, when we remember the bitterly fought election for President and the deep divisions and fears in our society that were stirred up by both parties and still remain, when we remember two trials in Charleston this month both related to violence against unarmed African Americans that are deeply troubling and hard to comprehend, it is precisely at such times that we need to remember most this scripture about Emmanuel’s coming into our world who is God with us.

The words “God with us” mean so much more than simply the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy from Isaiah. These words give us the essence of who Jesus is for our lives and for our hurting and broken world today. Jesus is God with us here and now. Jesus is God with us in the messiness of life and in the places of deepest pain and suffering. Jesus is God with us amidst all the hopes and possibilities for forgiveness and new life that we can’t begin to imagine. In his book, The Jesus WayEugene Peterson writes, “Jesus is the way that God comes to us and Jesus is the way we come to God.”

Our prayers for you this Christmas season is that amidst the Christmas lights, family gatherings, special meals and gifts that you will be drawn anew to one who is and always will be God with us, Emmanuel.

The Rev. Herman Yoos, Bishop
The Rev. Ginny Aebischer, Assistant to the Bishop
The Rev. Eric Wolf, Assistant to the Bishop
The Rev. Ozzie Herlong
The Rev. Rick Carter
Jenny Spearen
Julie Koon
Charlene Fink
Neal F. Fischer

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