Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel which means God with us (Matthew 1:23).
Immanuel is a Hebrew name which means “God with us.” It is not only one of the names of Jesus, in a word it communicates God’s intentions for all of mankind. A precious picture is suggested in Genesis with Adam and Eve walking with God in the cool of the day. For that is what we do with those we love—we walk, or find other ways to “waste” time together.
When Adam and Eve sinned, their first and final instinct was to hide. No longer naked and unashamed, Adam and Eve dressed themselves in fig leaves, and hid from the presence of the Lord. Once one with God and with one another, Adam and Eve were now isolated from God and each other. Having together walked with God, they walked away from Him, and from one another. They now walked alone.
We are no different. No longer naked and unashamed, we hide from one another. We lie (or tell half truths), we put our best foot forward, but we rarely, if ever, let anyone see who we really are. Painting a happy and unrealistic picture of one’s life is not just the peculiar pretense of the Facebook and Instagram generation, it is the quandary of us all, at all times and in all places. We want to be known, but we are afraid others will not like what they see. So we erect barriers and shrink from opening ourselves to others, fearing the vulnerability that always comes with love and commitment. Paradoxically, we yearn for intimacy yet walk alone.
Nowhere is this more evident than in our world’s embrace of abortion. The whole abortion movement is about “me.” Listen to the language: my choice, my body, my rights, my life. Abortion rhetoric even encourages us to think about sex in terms that isolate—we are encouraged to have “protected” sex, we speak of “barrier” methods, and we have deliberately divorced sex from love and commitment, meaning that it is acceptable to walk away. Just because I am with you tonight does not imply that I should be with you tomorrow, or so the thinking goes. Consent is about an act, not a person, and it is only given for the moment. I may yet decide to walk alone.
So what did God do? He gave us Christmas. He so loved the world that He gave His Son for the salvation of the world, a Son who came into the world in weakness, born in a stable, laid in a feedbox, having the same needs and suffering the same trials as the rest of us. The Son who is called Immanuel, for He is very God, and came to dwell among us in the flesh. For in Christ God is with us. He did not change the world—yet—but entered it, that He might be with us. He didn’t wait for us to shape up, to stop sinning, to forsake our selfishness or our insecurities. He didn’t come because we were upright or wise or faithful, but simply because he loved us—warts, bitternesses, foolish decisions, and all.
There is nothing more important for the pro-life world to do than to celebrate Christmas—to remember the lengths to which God went to love His people. For God loved the world not from a distance, but in drawing near, experiencing need, temptation, and fear. The principal reason women choose abortion has to do with feeling alone—unsupported by those closest to her in her hour of great need and fear. What pregnant women in crisis need is what we all need—the assurance that God is with her. For Christ came to be with her too. How will she know? By God’s people walking with her. We ask too much of a woman in crisis if we tell her that her unborn child has the right to life, but refuse walk with her. We may be correct, and yet all wrong.
The Scriptures tell us that we love because God first loved us. Which is exactly what Christmas is about.