Emmanuel: God With Us

In time’s past, when God created time, He placed in Eden a tree of life.  Magnificent, this stood, fragrant, and dripping with every good.  On such sacred ground flourished a fruit, so pure and sweet, which God let the man and woman eat.

In beauty, another tree also grew on this primordial soil, of which both Eve and Adam knew.  In form, so fair; with fruit, adorned, stood this test of holy love.  Let us learn how pure their love, for their Maker and each other.  So, God commands them not to bite into this perilous fruit, for death will be waiting, He warned.

So fast, so soon, the stillness split and cracked in Eden’s sacred grove.  A deceiver slinked in reptile skin, who snaked and crept and strove.  In slithered movement and seductive voice, toward Eve, he did deceive, to defraud her, unprotected.  For next to her, did Adam stand, oblivious to his calling.  Not guarding or protecting all things in the garden, a ruin rains down without reprieve upon the now-scarred land. 

A sin-infected Adam now passes down his damaged seed.  Such sadness, without relent, which mourns and weeps and bleeds.  The noonday sun turns into night.  A stink of fear and blight enshrouds, as death meanders into madness.  The viper’s poison soon depraves and drags us all into our graves.

A wave of unrelenting anger should blast, for a betrayal so base and weak.  No, this is not what God divines or what in mercy speaks.  An unknown mystery, He now displays, to us, a sin-sick race.  Not of hatred, but a rescue by His deliberate grace.

Promised is the woman’s Seed, who will supply our greatest need.  Born among us as a man, He too will journey toward a tree, but this one, hoisted high.  On the crucifixion wood, God’s Son, for sin, will bleed and die.  Deeper, lower He descends, His life to give and blood to shed, to crush the ancient evil head!

Still, ages pass and memories fade, so God calls men to speak His Word.  Such feeble minds forget, but God is faithful, and will not.  A sacred pledge recalling, words spoken long ago, God vows an oath to Abraham, of evil, most appalling, conquered. 

Yes, Jesus is this One, whom men in olden times, prophesied by inspired Word.  By prophets’ sacred sound, strong with forth-telling phrase, the nations will, one day, abound, in this saving Lord.  Still, the long-held curse lives on, which dooms to death, this universe.  Nevertheless, do not be sad or be forlorn, for Jesus will bring His healing and grace, to renew and restore our ruined race.

The years fly by.  Yes, some still seek a Savior, to unshackle them from earth’s oppression, not the age-old enemy of death, sin, and Satan.  No matter, for sin’s night will soon end, and the day’s dawning will not be far.  Older than sin’s perversion is mercy’s vast design.  So, God joins His creation to redeem with Life divine.

An angel, Gabriel, swoops down to announce the Word to a virgin named Mary.  “A blessed mother, maiden true, all generations will honor you.  To retrieve Adam’s seed from death and hell, Your Son will be Emmanuel.”

“Let be to me what pleases God,” her words arise, humble and woven in holy awe.  In the beginning, God’s Breath, His Spirit, breathed life into lifeless clay, and Adam became a living being.  Now, the Spirit speaks life into the virgin’s womb, who will come to defeat both grave and tomb.  So, no human power or seed caused Mary to conceive.  Only the Spirit, by His power, gave her womb its fruit and flower.

Such a marvelous wonder!  Within her grows a full and holy cure, for she will birth the infant with her honor, intact and pure!  A little child matures and grows, the Lord of lords in human vesture, increasing in size, with muscle, bone, and blood.  Of this, the fathers most desired, of which the prophets’ words inspired.  Now, their longing, at last, takes place, God with us, who comes with grace.

A holy birth awaits, but a census sends them to Bethlehem.  To Joseph’s family hearth, they go, but the home is packed and full of others.  All unravels—wearied travelers shelter where the animals sleep, which becomes their house and keep.

The Son of heaven, proclaimed by earliest seers, by God the Father given, in our form appears.  Here, God is residing.  Behold, the child, who is both God and Man, arrives.  Veiled in human’s skin and flesh, let not His features fool you, for Mary bears the Incarnate Deity!  Pleased as Man with us to dwell, Jesus is our Emmanuel! 

Yes, He’s God of God, but also man, whose heroic course, now began.  For this reason, He came to shatter the bonds of sin and set us, prisoners, free.  Of course, darkness still may frighten you with guilt or grief or pain, but God’s radiant Son now brightens, who bids you sing again. 

Bleak, a midwinter’s night, on grassy soil and rugged hill, shepherds are in the field abiding.  By day and night, they guard over the Temple’s sacrificial lambs.  Beyond human sight, ranks of heaven’s angels descend on their way.  From those realms of endless day, mighty messengers assemble in silence.  The winged creatures with sleepless eyes blaze down in light and echoing song.  A fearsome flurry of sound collides inside those shepherds’ ears: “Glory to God, in the highest!”

Frightened watchers of the flock, those keepers of the sheep, tremble and shake from the sacred story of tidings so profound and deep.  Mysterious marvels stream from heaven afar as the angelic armies reverberate their Alleluias.  A singing choir, beyond our kith and kin, now thunders its creation-changing hymn. 

“All honor to this newborn King, who brings His peace on earth.  With mercy and grace unknown to men, he enters to save those of sinful birth.  So, earth and heaven in one accord, acclaim the praises of your Lord.”

Now, they shrink not with affright, for the grace of day is dawning.  The virgin bears a sinless boy and all the angels beam with joy.  Such thrill beyond all gladness, for Christ, now comes to banish sadness.  Now, gloom withers, as our sorrows, for Life shimmers and glistens on all our tomorrows. 

These shepherds dash to David’s city, where dwells a modest cattle shed.  Still short of breath, they soon arrive, finding a mother—and her infant in the manger-bed.  The mother is Mary, the promised virgin, mild, and Jesus Christ, her little child.

So, Jesus left His Father’s throne, to be born an infant small, to lay where cattle eat their fill, inside a simple stall.  Here, resides the God of all, with feedbox bare and manger small, with the poor, oppressed, and lowly, lived our Lord most holy.

The shepherds let loose their story, astonishing others with a recounting so divine.  A chill descends on this holiest of nights.  On Christ’s cradle, dewdrops begin to shine.  But heavy hangs the head who will save the world, whose shoulders stoop with the weight of sin.  Rest, rest, in this creature’s stall, for He must grow to live and die, this Maker, Monarch, and Savior of all.

So, this is why He sleeps in such a state, where ox and cattle are feeding.  No ear will prick from silent words, which the Word enfleshed, is pleading.  Soon, according to God’s saving plan, nails and spear will pierce Him through.  Such a cross, He will bear for me, for you.  Hail, the Word made flesh, this babe, the Son of Mary!

Ponder the mystery of this night, for, within His earthborn form, Christ cloisters His all-creating light.  All to serve His eternal purpose.  To keep both you and me, He hides and cloaks the splendor of His might.

Weak in infancy, is this Lord of all.  In divinity and humanity, Christ comes to free us from Adam’s fall.  Such an unassuming form He takes, which the demons of darkness do not fear.  So weak, they scoff, from how He appears, this One who suffers our frailties of the flesh.  So God will work in the way of weakness, the strangling hold of Satan breaking.  By human birth and human death, true peace with God, now making.

Once, Christ gloried in eternal grandeur.  With fiercest of love and driven by compassion, He descended.  Down, down, He plunged, undaunted, to salvage us and give us His name.  Today, He is our staunch Defender still, who approaches with forgiveness to abolish our blame.  For us, He stomps the serpent’s head and sets us free from doubt and dread. 

Though earth’s sadness may still distress you, Jesus is born, who comes to bless you.  The Spirit, He again sends this day for God’s living Breath to reveal the way.  Now, to Christ, you cling in faith, who keeps us safe through life and death.

No longer need you to cringe or cower, for God restores you through His power.  Trust this Child and what He works.  In love unbounded, Jesus came to rescue everyone, even you. 

He set aside His splendor, came born of maiden’s womb, went forth to die for you, and rise from death’s dark tomb.  Next, by resurrection, He won for you reprieve, opening heaven’s kingdom to all who will believe.  Now, the First-begotten of the Father but also from the dead.  So, this declares to all why He lived and died and bled, wearing our flesh and frame.  Why?  All to give you His realm, His glory, and His name.  

So, let no tongue on earth be silent.  May every voice in concord sing.  Greet the heaven-born Prince of Peace.  With light and Life to all, He brings, born so we no more may die, born to raise us all on high.  Amen.