Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, December 6, Evening

By Rev. Ann Robins

The Most Important Thing

Read Matthew 1:22-23, Isaiah 7:14

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

When I was young and just learning the scriptures, I tended to combine both the Matthew and Luke nativity stories together. When I got older and knew more about the scriptures, I learned that both versions were very different, written from different points of view, from different writers, for different audiences. The more I learned about the scriptures and the two nativity stories, the more I came to appreciate both and their differences.

2020 has been very different. Our normal routines have been disrupted. We have had to learn new ways of doing things and we have had to face new challenges. Some things will be changed forever and a new normal will be here to stay. Things will be different going forward.

Whether you are discovering the differences in the nativity stories this Advent/Christmas season or figuring out how this Christmas season will look during a pandemic, there is one thing you can be sure of. It is the most important thing and can be summed up in one word: Immanuel.

Immanuel means “God is with us.” God came to us in the form of an infant born to humble parents to be with us. Through a child that grew into a man, God came to us and shared His love for all humanity. God is with us through all our challenges, our frustrations, our changes and our discoveries. Isaiah and Matthew help us remember this most important thing this Advent season.


God, in all our challenges and changes of this year, help us to know and see that you are with us. Help us experience and embody Immanuel this season. Amen.

Rev. Rick Isbell is the Minister of Discipleship, Retired. 

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