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God Is With Us

These are the facts concerning the birth of Jesus Christ: His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her finance, being a man of stern principle, decided to break the engagement but to do it quietly, as he didn't want to publicly disgrace her.

As he lay awake considering this, he fell into a dream, and saw an angel standing beside him. "Joseph, son of David," the angel said, "don't hesitate to take Mary as your wife! For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a Son, and you shall name him Jesus (meaning 'Savior'), for he will save his people from their sins. This will fulfill God's message through his prophets -

'Listen! The virgin shall conceive a child! She shall give birth to a Son, and he shall be called "Emmanuel!" (meaning "God is with us"). ' "

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel commanded, and brought Mary home to be his wife, but she remained a virgin until her Son was born; and Joseph named him, "Jesus." Matthew 1: 18-25 (TLB)

Terrie Hellard-Brown lives in Oklahoma. As worship leader in her church, Terrie always planned the Christmas worship services with great care and excitement. One year she asked a soprano named Rebecca to sing "O Holy Night" during the last Sunday morning service before Christmas.

As the date approached, Rebecca called Terrie and said, "I keep feeling like God wants me to sing 'O Holy Night' in French. Is that weird?" Terrie told her she thought it would be glorious, and that if God was leading her to do it, then she should. Their church had an English-speaking international congregation with 15 countries represented weekly. They were not aware of any attendees from French-speaking countries, but they both felt certain this was God's plan. They had no idea just how beautiful God's plan was.

That week in their Sunday service, a French businessman was depressed because he had to spend the holidays far from home. He was feeling discouraged and alone until Rebecca sang. As he listened to the hymn, he was flooded with the love of God and knew he was not alone. God encouraged and blessed that man through their simple act of obedience. That Christmas will forever remind Terrie that Jesus truly is Immanuel, God with us.

Prayer: Dear Lord God, thank you for blessing us as your children. Remind those who feel alone that you are with them, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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