Advent Journal: Immanuel

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.” 

                                                                                                                                                         Isaiah 7:14

How do you view yourself? This is perhaps one of the more important questions you can ask yourself. Most of us, myself at the top of the list, think of ourselves much more than we think of anyone else. How do you think of yourself? Not just your appearance, your actions, your thoughts, but what do you think about your inner being, your heart? The truth is that no matter how hard we may try to be good, to do good, to think good, we are entirely evil creatures.

Mankind, all of it, is totally deprave. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). This is a vivid picture that Jeremiah paints for us. Even those that do good outside of Christ have a sick heart. Any deed done outside of Christ is black and empty. Void. If our physical features became a forecast for our inner motives and actions we’d all look like a horde of miserable wretches out to ruin and destroy anything and everything good. “The whole head is sick, and whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil” (Isa. 1:5b-6).

Reality is that we cover up our wicked deeds quite well. We hide the fact that our evil hearts motivate our actions. We hide our thoughts, we hide many of our actions, we tear others down to make much of ourselves. We are self-consumed beings; everything we think and say and do revolves around us. It is ingrained in us to be this way, passed down all the way from Adam.

While we might be able to hide some of our evil from fellow mankind, we cannot hide it from God. He sees our sin as “bruises and sores and raw wounds.” It is despicable to him, he hates the sight of our sin, so much so that he cannot even dwell in our presence while sin is ruling. This is why we have advent. We have no hope in ourselves; there is no possible way to purge ourselves of our sin. We cannot crawl out of the depthless pit we’ve created for ourselves. Our sin nature is rooted deep within our souls, and the damage has been done. God’s requirement is perfection which is so far beyond our reach. As soon as life is conceived, sin takes its reign and there is an impossible barrier between man and God. This is why we have advent, because we need help. We need hope.

The promise of Immanuel’s coming is mind-boggling. The word Immanuel means “God with us.” God came to dwell with sinful mankind. Don’t take this truth lightly. Those who sin constantly, consistently against Him are the very ones He came to dwell among. He left the glory of heaven, His Father’s side, to suffer on earth among mankind, coming to rid the world of its darkness, to crush the sin in our hearts once and for all.

He is our hope, our only hope. He is why we have advent; we need help and he is the only one that can bring change. Heaven met earth in one beautiful, strong, powerful word: Immanuel.

“Yes Lord, we greet Thee
Born this happy morning
Jesus to Thee be all
Glory giv’n
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing

O come let us adore Him”