All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”which means, “God is with us.” Matthew 1:22-23 (NRSV)
Today doing business from a distance is quite a normal concept. Most of us use the Internet to order items from all over the world, setting events in motion in different states or even on different continents that are not under our direct control.
Sometimes it’s easy to envision God as doing the same thing we do when we order things or pay our bills online, pulling strings from a distance, never having to get dirty or even (metaphorically speaking) having to get up off the couch.
God chose to “get dirty.” He did not have to enter the world of humanity with its suffering, pathos and drama (not to mention dirt and pain and bad smells) but He chose to enter our world, to become part of it, to embrace humanity by becoming fully human.
Jesus could have skipped the 33 years of having to smell the odors of dirty people and livestock, of having to put up with heat, cold, pain, filth and screaming brats and having to hand-hold and spoon-feed clueless disciples. He embraced the hard realities of being human- even that stuff we really don’t like such as physical illness, discomfort and grief. He made friends. He lived with and loved flesh and blood humans in a flesh and blood body just like ours. When His friend Lazarus died, He wept. (John 11)
As Jesus followers we don’t always talk about the humanity of Jesus, or we get stuck on concepts such as the virgin birth, as if God Who created the universe and everything in it couldn’t manage an immaculate conception. If God had wanted to, He could have just dropped Jesus on the earth as a full grown man and sat Him on a throne with a flaming light saber, but in coming to us as an infant, born of a human woman, He became human, approachable, one of us.
More than that, God took the route of the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:1-5) to save humanity from its own sin and death. He could have simply remained detached, viewing the world and its flawed humans from afar, but His love was too great to leave His creatures- His friends, His beloved, to their own devices.
God With Us- Emmanuel, Jesus, is with us.