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, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:10-14 ESV
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). Matthew 1:18-23 ESV
There was once a poor woodcutter who was about to cut down a tree, when a fairy appeared and begged him not to cut down the tree. The woodcutter did what she asked, and to thank him the fairy granted him three wishes. When the man came home from his work, he was hungry, and he wished for a sausage. Magically, a delicious sausage appeared in front of him. He explained to his wife what had happened, and she was very angry with him for not making a better wish. She said angrily, “I wish that sausage would get stuck at the end of your nose!” That’s exactly what happened, and no matter how hard they pulled, the sausage wouldn’t come off his nose. What could they do? They had only one wish left, and they had to wish for the sausage to come off the woodcutter’s nose!
If you enjoy fairy tales, you know that it’s best not to trust in fairies and in the wishes they grant, because often something goes wrong. King Ahaz felt the same way about the Lord. God had promised him through the prophet Isaiah that Israel and Syria wouldn’t completely conquer him, and then God told King Ahaz that he could ask for a sign. He could ask for any sign he wanted, as deep as the grave or as high as heaven. But Ahaz didn’t trust God, and he didn’t want God’s help or to ask for any sign. This was very foolish of him. He wouldn’t be able to save his kingdom without the help of God. God was angry, but he said he would give a sign anyway. This sign would be the birth of a baby, and this baby would be called Immanuel, a beautiful name that means “God with us.”
We know that this baby, the wonderful sign from God that shows he cares for us and is always with is, is the baby Jesus. God himself came to us in Jesus to help us and to show us his love. Jesus lived among his people and taught and healed the sick and did many good things. He showed his love and care in the greatest way of all when he died on the cross to pay for our sins. He came out of the grave on the third day, and he promises to be with us always. We can always trust Jesus to be with us and to love and care for us, no matter what.
Dear Jesus, thank you coming to us and dying for us, and for being with us always. Amen.