Here are the words of the first verse of the well-known carol: ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel! Redeem thy captive Israel / That into exile drear is gone, Far from the face of God’s dear Son. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel’.

Here is the Old Testament background, from Isaiah, to the title: ‘Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”’.

The name means, ‘God with us’. As we continue to prepare for the great Feast, let us take a few moments to be still in the midst of all the busy-ness, and reflect upon what it means for us personally that God is with us, steadily and profoundly, each day of our lives. May God bless you in this, and be close to you this day.