Today, while in Israel with a group from Evangel Church, I had the opportunity to visit the town of Bethlehem. We started off by visiting the site called Shepherds Field, which is where the angel appeared to a group of shepherds to announce the birth of a child. But this was not just any child. In the town of Bethlehem, the city of David, the child that was born was the Savior, Christ the Lord. This child, the angel said, would be found lying in a manger and wrapped in swaddling cloths (Luke 2:8-12).
As we spent time at this site, I thought about what an amazing message it was that the angel was delivering. It was a message that changed everything for mankind, for this little baby would one day suffer and die to save us all from sin. We left the Shepherds Field, and like the shepherds on that night two thousand years ago, we immediately made our way down into Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity. Underneath that church is a cave and, in that cave, which had served as a stable for animals, Jesus was born of the virgin named Mary.
Standing in that cave and gazing at the spot where Mary gave birth to Jesus and the spot where the manger stood, I was filled with emotion as I thought about the amazing gift that God gave us in the form of this tiny child. The Son of God took on human form, coming to this world as a fragile, helpless infant dependent upon His mother and His earthly father, Joseph for all of His needs. But that same tiny little baby was Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). He came to this world to pay the penalty for our sins, to save us from eternal death, from separation from our God. He came to give us eternal life, living in the presence of God.
What an amazing gift God gave us on that night in Bethlehem. And all that is required on our part is to accept Jesus as our Savior, to repent and ask forgiveness for our sins, and choose to follow Him. Jesus gave Himself for us so that we can give our all to Him. Jesus is our Immanuel, God with us.