Emanuel, God with us – That is the lesson of Christmas


by Senator Page Walley

Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Whether you are enjoying the Christmas lights, celebrating with friends and family, or enjoying special holiday traditions, it is a joyous time of year filled with hope. But the real hope of the season is found in the birth of Jesus Christ.
The Bible clearly states the magnitude of what this miraculous birth in the humblest of settings means to us in Matthew 1:22: “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
In Matthew and throughout the New Testament, we are immersed with the healing message of “God with us.” He sent the Holy Spirit in fulfilment of this promise. It gives us hope that along life’s path that He will be there to help us, guide us, encourage us, and strengthen us.
While the Christmas message that Jesus is Emanuel represents the fact that the awesome presence of God is with us, it also clarifies the actions we as Christians must follow. Jesus gave us a new commandment that we should love one another. He said “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
That is the lesson we are living this week as we reach out to our fellow Tennesseans and neighbors in Kentucky who suffered losses in the devastating tornadoes.
The tornado outbreak, which is one of the nation’s most deadly in more than a decade, created an unfathomable path of destruction in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The images of the damage are difficult to view and the photos of those who lost their lives are even harder to see. Many are suffering, including those who are without homes this Christmas. The recovery efforts are just beginning for survivors of the storm. They need all the help they can get, including our prayers. In the spirit of our Volunteer State name, many Tennesseans are already on the ground to assist.
Although our district did not suffer the tragedy of loss of life, we did have many people who were affected with storm damage and the loss of power or water. It was heartening to see people come together to help one another recover from the storm. We have seen examples of the good news of Christmas all around us as many citizens in our district find great joy in uplifting each other during difficult times.
Our emergency workers have worked diligently to help storm victims. Thank you to all of our utility workers, community officials, and leaders of faith in our Senate district who rallied around those who needed assistance. But, that’s who we are. Our trials and tragedies bring us together, living out the commandment of loving one another as Christ loves us.
Emanuel, God with us – He came to seek us and to save us, and told us to love one another. That is the lesson of Christmas. As we pause at this coldest, darkest time of the year to thank God for the eternal blessings of His Son on December 25th, it is incumbent upon us to be His ambassadors of hope and light to one another.
May God bless each of you and may God Bless Tennessee. Merry Christmas!