Advent - December 24th

By Rev. Denise Cunningham-Doggett - Friday December 24, 2021

Friday, December 24th ~ Christmas Eve

This devotion is the written accompaniment to a video Advent message that can be viewed on our YouTube Channel by clicking HERE.

Denise Cunningham Doggett
“Imagine God’s Love Revealed in a Name”

Each year I fall in love with a hymn that shares in the narrative of the Birth of Christ.  My joy is this is that as a minister and a musician I can meditate and reflect over what the true essence of the Advent season is for me.  One of my favorite songs of the Advent season is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”"  It is a Christian hymn for Advent and Christmas. It is a translation of a Latin hymn, "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel." The 1861 translation, by John Mason Neale, from Hymns Ancient and Modern is the most notable in the English-speaking realm, but other English translations also endure. Adaptations into other modern languages (particularly German) are also in broad use.

In Scripture, the name "Emmanuel" first appears in Isaiah 7:14, which says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; The virgin will conceive, and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Emmanuel” (NIV). The original meaning of the name is: “with us is God,” or “God with us.”

Although it says in Isaiah 7:14 “thou shalt call his name Immanuel,” Mary and Joseph didn’t give their son that name. Instead, they followed the directions given specifically to them in Matthew 1:21 (Joseph in a dream) and Luke 1:31 (Mary by the angel Gabriel) to name Him Jesus.

As seen in Matthew 1:23 above, the meaning of Emmanuel is “God with us.” The promised child was given the name of Jesus but was also Emmanuel, God in the flesh.

During this Advent season, let us take the time to imagine God’s love revealed throughout this Advent season and to know that “God is with us” in our home, work, school, church and in our community.  I am reminded that God’s love might not appear like a mark down at shopping mall or on line shopping.  Can you imagine on today what God will reveal to you in the middle of a pandemic about how to share the love of Jesus.

I believe that God is with us and He waits for us to share His love to a dying world.  Can you imagine sharing God’s love with your family more during the time of this pandemic? It also might mean spending or sharing time with the youth in our family or encouraging some sick senior family members.   I believe even in our employment if we shared God’s love by making cookies in our department and just setting them on the table for staff that really need the encouragement of memories of the holiday season.  Since I am worshiper, can you imagine singing carols or songs or encouragement outside in this season and to encourage people in the community to sing along with you.  It certainly would meet the guidelines of social distancing and listen to the songs of praise that could touch the hearts of God’s people.

When I sing this hymn of old, I focus on the 4th stanza that reads:

O Come, thou Day Spring come, come and cheer

Our Spirits by Thine advent here

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice!   Rejoice!  Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Isreal!

I believe throughout this Advent season, we can continue to reflect and prepare for the arrival of Christ renewed in our hearts.  It also allows us to creatively know how God has revealed his son Jesus to creatively share and reflect about His love.  It gives us as believers a time to prepare for Christmas and “Rejoice!  Rejoice!” to know that “God is truly With Us!”

Rev. Denise Cunningham-Doggett

Bethany Christian Church in Cleveland, OH where, Rev. Dr. Robin Hedgeman is Senior Pastor

Email:  Niecyc63@sbcglobal.net 

(Video:  Rev. Denise Cunningham-Doggett, flautist, Cerena Mangum, keyboard)


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