This site uses cookies to provide you with more responsive and personalized service and to collect certain information about your use of the site.  You can change your cookie settings through your browser.  If you continue without changing your settings, you agree to our use of cookies.  See our Privacy Policy for more information.

The Hope of Immanuel

Devotions

“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is a beloved Christmas carol, saturated with longing for God’s promised Messiah. We celebrate not only His coming as a baby at Christmas, which lies in the past, but also His Second Coming in glory, which lies in our future. Dating back to the eighth or ninth century, it’s one of the oldest carols we still sing today. Think of it— we’re singing about the same Savior as believers did 1,200 years ago!

We celebrate the hope brought by Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” While Gabriel announced this good news to Mary, an angel of the Lord shared the news with her betrothed husband-to-be, Joseph. Mary had of course told him her story, but it was just too unbelievable (v. 18). A virgin birth? Seriously? So he’d decided to divorce her quietly rather than proceed with marriage to an apparently immoral and dishonest woman (v. 19).

Then the angel appeared to him in a dream and confirmed Mary’s truthfulness. The child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and would “save his people from their sins” (vv. 20–21). This was another way of saying Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God, as had been prophesied long ago by Isaiah (vv. 22–23). The name “Jesus” means “the Lord saves.”

Joseph’s response was impressive (vv. 24–25). Consider the stakes: If he believed the dream and married Mary, but it was false, then his life was ruined and society would view him as a prize idiot. Nonetheless, he trusted God, married her, and named the child Jesus. For them as a couple, then, the hope of Christmas had both personal and cosmic implications. God’s redemption is always both— the fact that He is with us affects us as individuals as well as the whole world.

>> During your personal time of worship and reflection today, listen to the carol, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” or even sing aloud. You can look up all the verses in a hymnal or online!

Pray with Us

Lord Jesus, you came to earth as a baby, and you have promised to return and take us with you to our Father’s house. Even as we celebrate the peace of this season, we look forward to your Second Coming. Come, Emmanuel!

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

Find Daily Devotionals by Month