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God with Us (Sunday after Christmas)
I. We may well say first, that all our best Christmas thoughts are summed up in this word. We think of the Holy Child not simply as heaven's gift to the world, but as the coming down of heaven itself into the world. 'Lo, I am with you alway,' is the alpha and omega of the Incarnation. 'Immanuel, God with us!' That is the very meat and drink of our faith. The gift that came to the world that first Christmas morning has never been withdrawn for a moment. It is perennial and inexhaustible, new every morning, fresh every evening.
II. The word comes to us with equal appropriateness as we consider the approaching close of the year. It comes laden with suggestions of gratitude, and musical too with prophetic voices of glad and assuring promise. You have often been conscious of the Divine hand upon you, and a thousand times when you were not conscious you have discovered afterwards that it was most surely there. He who has been as the shadow of a great rock behind,' as a covert from the tempest, as a guiding and protecting pillar of fire; He whose angel presence has journeyed with us through many a wilderness, and across many a divided sea, will just repeat Himself in the story which has yet to be written before our lives reach their final rest. Immanuel! there is no word like that. God with us. That is the best of all, it leaves nothing wanting.
III. And that is what we feel not only about ourselves but about the world at large. We might despair if we thought that God came and went, that Christ lived and died and vanished. But no thoughts of fear can ever disturb those who believe that the Incarnation meant a perpetual fact, a gift never recalled, a power that never ceases to work, a promise that is always hastening to its fulfilment There can be no doubt about the future of him whose faith is planted deep in and girded round by this truth of truths, 'Immanuel, God with us'.
J. G. Greenhough, Christian Festivals and Anniversaries, p. 238.
References. VII. 14. "Plain Sermons" by contributors to the Tracts for the Times, vol. ix. p. 91. Canon Ainger, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvii. 1895, p. 12. VII. 14, 15. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xl. No. 2392. VIII. 6. W. A. Gray, The Shadow of the Hand, p. 48. VIII. 6, 7. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah, p. 45. VIII. 11-20. V. S. S. Coles, Advent Meditations on Isaiah I.-XII. p. 69. VIII. 17. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p. 4. A. Murray, Waiting on God, p. 84. VIII. 18. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xx. No. 1194. VIII. 20. J. H. Blake, Penny Pulpit, vol. xiv. No. 810, p. 166. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. No. 172. VIII. 22. V. S. S. Coles, Advent Meditations on Isaiah I.-XII. p. 73. IX. 1. C. S. Robinson, Simon Peter, p. 89. IX. 1, 2. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxvi. No. 2163. IX. 2. A. MacLeod, Days of Heaven Upon Earth, p. 262. W. H. Lyttelton, Missionary Sermons at Hagley, p. 13. IX. 2-7. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah, p. 48. IX. 3. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxviii. No. 2265. W. Michell, Plain Preaching to Poor People (5th Series), p. 1. J. Weller, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lii. 1897, p. 260. IX. 5, 6. Lyman Abbott, ibid. vol. xlix. 1896, p. 20. A. P. Stanley, Sermons on Special Occasions, p. 34.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 7". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter