The Fourth Sunday in Advent

The Fourth Sunday in Advent

Promises and Hopes Fulfilled: Emmanuel

As the Old Testament progresses and increasingly gives glimpses of how God will bring redemption and rescue to His people, we begin to see the surprising and wonderful truth that the coming King to rule and Son to save will not be just any ordinary baby boy, but will in fact be God Himself.

Indeed, Matthew, a former tax collector and a Gospel writer, records how the birth of Jesus fulfilled the ancient promises of God – the baby to be born was to be called ‘Emmanuel’ (God is with us) and ‘Jesus’ (God rescues).

This of course is the stunning truth of the Incarnation: that the eternal God, full of infinite power and being, took on the frailty and limitedness of human flesh. It is worth reflecting once more on John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The eternal Word “became” a man named Jesus. He Who eternally existed as God became human for humanity’s redemption. In this, He did not cease to be God. He came as fully God and fully man – on a mission of grace and truth, reflecting the glory He shared with the Father to the blind and broken world.

God’s people had waited. God was faithful. He kept His promises. And He did so in the most extraordinary and abundant way possible – as Zechariah sings in Luke 1, God Himself has visited and redeemed his people.

God Himself has come. He is our hope and salvation. He does not just provide for us. He provides Himself for us.


(This reflection is taken from our Advent Devotional guide. For further reading, and for the accompanying study questions, you can download our full guide here.)