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“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” ~Isaiah 7:14~

The world is a scary place. I’m not talking about UA’s football game against Arizona State last week, although that was pretty scary. I’m talking about really scary things. And it’s been that way a long time.

In the 8th Century before the birth of Jesus, the people of Judah quaked with fear. In those days the people of Israel were divided into two kingdoms, Judah and Israel; but both kingdoms were dominated by the awful Assyrian Empire. Anything awful you could say about any empire ever, you could say about the Assyrians.

The King of Israel wanted to align with the King of Judah and a third kingdom, the Kingdom of Aram, to go and fight those awful Assyrians and win their freedom. The King of Judah, though, thought that was a crazy idea. “We’ll be crushed!” he said, and he refused to do it.

But that angered the King of Judah and the King of Aram, and they decided to go to war with Judah instead. They’d depose the King of Judah and put someone else in his place, a new King who would join them against those awful Assyrians.

And so the people of Judah and the King of Judah were afraid, because the armies of Israel and Aram were rising up against them. “We’ll be crushed!” they said as they shook in terror.

But Isaiah the Prophet spoke the Word of the Lord and reminded them that God was with them. And once you know that God is with you, that changes everything.

And as a sign that God was with them, Isaiah spoke of a sign, a symbol of hope, an assurance of God’s promise that God is always with us, even when things are awful or scary. That sign, that symbol, was the birth of a child. Someone was pregnant, and with the birth of her child, hope would come anew into the world.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” ~Isaiah 7:14~

The world is a scary place, but he is called Emmanuel, which means, God with us. No matter how frightening it is, God is with us. And that changes everything. So do not be afraid, but give glory to the newborn King.

Merry Christmas, and thanks for listening –
Matt

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