You'll be hard pressed to find a name loaded with more meaning than this glorious name. In the book of Isaiah we are told, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." Jumping to John 1, we see this light has a name. Jesus. Emmanuel.
This light shines in shines into the darkness, dispelling it with along with its fear and shame. When you hear this, you'd expect the coming of Emmanuel to be loud and accompanied by an introduction fitting a King—but you'd be wrong. St. Athanasius (299-373 AD) wrote about this very thing in his short work On the Incarnation. When asked why God came into the world in such a lowly fashion. He answers:
[T]he Lord came not to be put on display but to heal and to teach those who were suffering. One being put on display only needs to appear and dazzle the beholders; but one who heals and teaches does not simply sojourn, but is of service to those in need and appears as those who need him can bear, lest by exceeding the need of those who suffer he trouble the very ones in need and the manifestation of the divine be of no benefit to them (§ 43)."
Advent is crucial for our understanding God and ourselves. No other season shouts from heaven, "I have not forgotten you!" The interesting thing, of course, is that this shout sounds familiar. As familiar as a newborn baby's cry.
This season, set aside time each week to marvel at our God who didn't rescue us from afar. He didn't commute... He moved in—a heavenly refugee of sorts. Below you'll find a list of Advent guides to use for personal and/or family devotion. I hope you see the light of the world anew this season. Merry Christmas and Happy Advent!