Communications are getting quicker. A letter used to be a fairly good way of communicating and a next day delivery was impressive. Telegraph messages could send a message across the world. The ‘facsimile’ (fax), was so fast that a letter you’d typed could spew out in another location a few minutes later.
As the technology becomes more sophisticated so the messages are getting briefer. So, with a computer or mobile phone you can now e-mail, text or tweet. The last of these uses ‘Twitter’ which permits a limited number of characters to be used for communication. It is surprising how much you can say in a few words whether you intended to or not. But, if you had to sum up a profound message in one word, then it is a lot trickier.
People’s names often have meanings. For those who have had the privilege of having children there is often a struggle to name them. It’s worse for teachers due to the inevitable associations with former pupils!
When it comes to the birth of Jesus Christ, various names and titles are used. One of the most meaningful is the name or title ‘Immanuel’. We are told the meaning by the Gospel writer: ‘All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Immanuel’ – which means, “God with us” ‘ (Matthew 1v22-23 quotes from Isaiah’s prophetic message, Matthew supplies the meaning).
Immanuel is a stupendous word for the New Year! The presence of God with us was literally true in the birth of the infant Jesus. But is also true in the ongoing sense for us now. If we are a follower of Jesus Christ then we can take this promise to heart: Jesus will be with us through all of the ups and downs ahead.
That is worth remembering. It is worth tweeting. It provides us with an unchanging reality come what may.
May your New Year be filled with the hope that comes from knowing Jesus who is known as ‘Immanuel.’