December 13, 2010

Dec. 13: Name him Emmanuel


By Justin Yoder, a sophomore music major from Perkasie, Pa.
THIS WEEK’S THEME: Name him Emmanuel


“Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet;
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.”

I love this old hymn by 19th-century abolitionist and Congregationalist minister Jeremiah Rankin. When the Goshen College Men’s Chorus went on tour during spring break of last year, we offered this song as a benedictory blessing to each of the congregations we sang for. I loved to glance out over our audience as we sang the parting hymn each night, seeing this powerful blessing reflected back to us in the shining faces of those in attendance.

To sing these words is to remind ourselves of the promise that we do not walk alone on the journey of life. Wherever we go, however far we wander from the warm embraces of those we know and love, we are held in the unfailing arms of the God who knows and loves us, the God who became fully human to walk beside us as Emmanuel, “God with us.”

Our Scripture passages for this week tell the stories of people desperate for the promise of “God with us”: a novice king fearing for his life; an upright Jewish man with a pregnant fiancée; a suffering people longing for restoration. Perhaps these stories, and many others throughout Scripture, remind us of our own. Forces beyond our control threaten our safety and well-being. A sudden change in our relationships leaves us feeling lost and confused. Grief, anger and worry overwhelm us. How quickly we forget that the Word became flesh and lived as one of us, sharing in our sadness and our joy, our triumphs and failures, our fear and our hope.

During this Advent season, in the midst of our uncertain lives, may we hope and trust in the promise of Emmanuel. God is with us all, now and forever.



Comments (9)

  1. This has been so wonderful to hear these wise words from one of the many young adults who have contributed thus far. This is a wonderful portrayal of the goodness found in many of the student body at GC that we sometimes don’t hear. Thank you!

    Betty December 13, 2010 |
  2. I, too, enjoy hearing such wise and encouraging words from our young adults in the Mennonite Church. Blessings to you Justin.

    Judy December 13, 2010 |
  3. Justin,
    I loved your words shared in this devotional and think that most of us really NEED to hear these words this Advent season. May I have your permission to use some of them as part of our am worship, words to meditate on in preparation for worship. I will give you credit in print.
    Please let me know if you are ok with that. You may contact me by email – I serve as pastoral assistant at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church.


    Jody Moyer

    Jody Moyer December 13, 2010 |
  4. thank you. this past weekend was a bit overwhelming for me, and i needed to hear what the spirit spoke through you. may you have a blessed holiday.

    Mary December 13, 2010 |
  5. JThank you, Justin, for this important reminder. It was
    great to hear, too, of your experience with the GC choir
    and that it was a good experience for you.

    Loretta Yoder Ostojic December 13, 2010 |
  6. Bless you Justin for beginning the meditation with that song. Jeremiah Rankin was quite the abolitionist. May new songs for our day be granted to you as you study music

    Sanford Yoder December 13, 2010 |
  7. This is the best written devotional I have read this Advent season. Thank you so much, Justin.

    Yvonne December 13, 2010 |
  8. Thank you, Justin, for offering this lens by which to read our lives and the Advent scriptures this week: “stories of people desperate for the promise of ‘God with us.'” It’s beautiful, and a help to me in my Advent musings.

    Janice December 14, 2010 |
  9. thank you for these powerful words

    Stu Buisch December 15, 2010 |