Merry Christmas! I pray God’s blessings on you during this most significant time of the year.

It’s significant because God sent His Son. But it’s easy for us to become so familiar with the holiday that we miss out on its special significance to us as ministers. We can all relate to feeling tired and discouraged after years of ministry. But Christmas brings hope through the name given to Jesus by the prophet Isaiah.
<blockquote>“The Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel.” — Isaiah 7:14</blockquote>
The name “Immanuel” appears twice in the Hebrew Scriptures and once in the New Testament. In Greek, it is rendered “Emmanouel.” One of the most comforting of all the names and titles of Jesus, it is translated literally as “with us is God.” Or, as Matthew’s Gospel puts it, “God with us.”

In Jesus, we see how extreme God’s love is.

When our sins made it impossible for us to come to God, He took the outrageous step of coming to us. He made Himself susceptible to sorrow, became familiar with temptation, and opened himself to sin’s disruptive power. All to cancel sin’s claim on the world He loved.

As fellow leaders, I encourage us all to remember the inherent hope contained in this most precious of Jesus’ names. The next time we feel discouraged, abandoned, or too timid to undertake some new endeavor, we can know hope, for Jesus is still Immanuel. He is still God with us.
<blockquote>“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”
— Matthew 1:22–23</blockquote>
MERRY CHRISTMAS from Sharon and myself and the entire Fellowship Network family!

In Christ,

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