Following is a guest post from Carol Kaminski
In the 8th century B.C. during the reign of King Ahaz of Jerusalem, the prophet Isaiah tells the king that he would be given a sign: a child would be born to a maiden. He would be called Immanuel, "God with us" (Isa. 7:14). The birth of the child was to be a sign of hope to King Ahaz amidst a time of national crisis. The name Immanuel recalls one of the central themes of the Old Testament: the divine presence among his people. God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, "I will be with you." God had promised Moses that he would be with his people. Moses knew the profound significance of this promise when the Israelites had built the golden calf. Moses pleaded with God, "If your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here." Yet the history of Israel reveals the sober reality that Israel’s sin would lead to the departure of the divine presence, as the prophet Ezekiel so poignantly announced.
But the divine presence would one day be restored among his people. The great promise of God, "I will be with you," would not be forgotten. Eight centuries after Isaiah had spoken these words, an angel appeared to a man named Joseph, announcing that Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit. The Son would be called Immanuel, "God with us" (Matt. 1:23). This is the great hope of the Old Testament—fulfilled in the birth of the Messiah.
This Advent season we are reminded that whatever our circumstances, we have hope. We are not without God in this world. The coming of the Messiah means that God is with us—always. Even to the end of the age. This is indeed good news.