Merry Christmas, lovely!

I have a quick question for you:

Do you have a favorite Name of God?

If you grew up in church like I did, you’ve no doubt learned about various names of God throughout Scripture. Names like Jehovah Jireh, Adonai, El Shaddai, Abba Father, the Comforter, etc.—they’re all deeply meaningful and powerful in their own right.

Personally, one of my absolute favorite names of God is one I think of frequently at Christmas. I love this passage from the book of Isaiah:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” – Isaiah 7:14

Immanuel—God with us.

Perhaps it’s the holiday season and the reminder of Jesus coming to earth as a baby, but I always feel the fresh reminder of this reality at Christmas. I can’t say this was always the case, but I had an experience a few years ago that profoundly shifted my understanding of what Immanuel means to me.

Ten years ago when I was in ministry school, one of my homework assignments was to craft a prayer using one of the names of God. I don’t remember why, but I chose the name Immanuel. I also don’t remember what I wrote in that prayer, except for the very last phrase. Instead of closing the prayer by saying, “Thank you, God, for being God with us,” I found myself writing, “Thank you for being God with ME.”

I actually remember the phrase “God with me” coming to me as I wrote the words, like someone else was speaking and I was simply scribing what I heard.

And in that moment, a lightbulb turned on.

God. With. Me.

God with me. God with Melissa.

A simple, two-letter word change —’us’ to ‘me’—marked me forever.

I’ve never forgotten this and any time I hear Immanuel, it feels personal.

It feels personal because He IS personal.

Yes, He’s with us collectively, but He’s also with us individually.

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I want to remind you that God is with you. In fact, would you do me a favor and say it out loud:

“God with me. God with [insert your name.]”

Now, say it again.

What would change in your life if this truth were to sink down deep into your very soul? Even into your thoughts and beliefs and fears and challenges and joys and celebrations?

Would things that worry you and weigh you down seem less burdensome in the light of this one reality? God, the Creator of the universe. Maker of heaven and earth, King of kings and Lord of lords, all-knowing, all-powerful, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, the embodiment of LOVE, triumphant in every battle—is with you. Right here. Right now.

And He’s never leaving. Ever.

As I close, I want to declare something over you:

Wherever you are in the world right now, whatever is before you, I pray that the reality of God with me would wrap around you, spirit, soul and body. May it saturate your very cells. May you be transformed by the presence of Emmanuel, our priceless gift, who came as a baby, grew into a man, gave his life for us, and rose again—victoriously holding every key of hell and death.

May we awaken afresh to his love, peace, and ever-abiding Presence in this season and in every season thereafter.

Merry Christmas!