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  • Writer's pictureKaren Pennington

Take the Baby Snuggles! The Meaning of Emmanuel

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

I spent my birthday this year with my sick two year old granddaughter. I am not gonna lie; It was not all very pretty. Her temperature fluctuations caused a lot of discomfort and crying, which was heartbreaking. She wanted to be held and comforted so badly that I could not put her down for hours in a row (which hurt my bladder, to be quite honest); every time I put her down, she would wake up and cry. On two different occasions, she threw up all over me. I could scarcely tear myself (or her clothes) away for even the moments it took to change our clothes.

It was glorious! Before you judge me too much for saying this, hear me out. It's not that I wanted her to suffer. I love that little girl so very much that I counted it the highest privilege and joy to comfort her in her time of need. Even as the awareness of her pain pierced my heart, co-mingled with that I felt a deep contentment in being completely and totally present with her, who was totally dependent on her parents, her papaw and me (Gamgam) for her health and comfort. I felt the same about my own daughter, who also clung to me (and puked on me multiple times) as a child in times of sickness.

In light of my extended snuggle session, I find it profoundly ironic that the Emmanuel, the God whom we needed so badly to be present in our lives, came in the form of a baby, one who so completely needed the presence of others. The Word of God chose to leave a place of unlimited power and dominion in order to assume a position of utter helplessness and dependence, because we needed him to come.

That word Emmanuel comes from three smaller words: em (with), nu (us) and El (God). Only that first part, the "em," means more than just "with". The one word actually represents several prepositions in the English language, including: with, in, around, beside, within, among and through. So basically, Emmanuel means:

  • God with us,

  • God in us,

  • God around us,

  • God beside us,

  • God within us,

  • God among us, and

  • God through us.

Translation: Through the once and for all work of Christ, and the ongoing movement of the Holy Spirit, God's love consumes us in every possible way. Now there's a Christmas present- and presence- worth opening!

Click Here To read the prophecy and story of Emmanuel in Scripture.

Click Here to read John Piper's teaching on Emmanuel.

Click here to listen to the Daily Adventure in Grace Podcast.

Click here to read Karen's weekly blog posts.

Click here to order a copy of Karen's book, An Anointed Mess: Discovering the Daily Adventure of Grace.

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