Sunday, December 11, 2016

Music of Advent - Emmanuel, Emmanuel

Week 2, Saturday—Matthew 1:18-24

Emmanuel, Emmanuel by Bob McGee, 1976

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
His name is called, Emmanuel
God with us, revealed in us
His name is called, Emmanuel

When we think about the God of the universe, we often think of a deity with supreme power, larger than life, invincible.  Then Advent rolls around year after year and tells us of a child born that shall be called “God with us.”  Suddenly our perspective changes and we ooh and coo like we would with any infant entering our world.

When I was fifteen, my niece was born—the first grandchild loved by one and all.  Even though I was old enough to babysit, I was given all the typical instructions on how to hold her.  “Keep her head up,” “Support her neck.” “Don’t drop her!”  I chuckle to think about how we fuss over the littlest of us.  This is how it should be; babies are vulnerable and fragile.  They are not capable of walking or feeding themselves.  They must be supported and hand fed for most of their first year.  They cannot defend themselves.

How can the God of the universe come as one so fragile?  How can the supreme deity, invincible and powerful, subject Godself to the whims of humanity?  What if the parents God chose to bear this child fail to keep the baby safe?  What about other children, who can be cruel?  What about powerful, evil rulers who enact decrees that can harm children and their families?  Why would God come in human flesh at all?

From the very beginning, God sought to be in relationship with creation and with humans instilled with the very image of the divine.  So much potential we have for good!  So much power we have for evil!  The God who desires relationship couldn’t let a little thing like flesh distance humanity from God.  No, God continues to seek out relationship with all of humanity.

The song, Emmanuel, Emmanuel, reflects the words of the angel in Matthew 1.  We sing “Emmanuel, God with us.”  The phrase after that is the line to which we do not give significant weight—”revealed in us.”  God is revealed in us!

God desires relationship with humanity and comes in the form of a fragile baby.  As we ooh and coo, we might remember the God who loves us so much, that God stepped into flesh to struggle, hunger, sweat, and tire along with us, and in the end, to die as well. 

Perhaps this child brings out the divine in all of us.  How are you revealing God remembering the child of the manger?

‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ 
Matt 1:23

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