So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,”* which is translated, “God with us.”
The first time we experience something seems to have a profound and lasting effect on us. We remember first steps, first home run, first kiss, first car, we all have our list of “firsts”. One of those “firsts” is locked away in my heart like none of the others. What “first” was that? It was my first Christmas as a christian.
I had always loved Christmas as a child, I loved the magical aspect of that special day. I remember the chocolate covered cherries, the bowl of walnuts and pecans, and of course all of the toys. I remember so many sleepless Christmas Eves, sneaking into the living room by the tree to see what Santa had brought that year.
Those were special years, but none of them can compare to that Christmas in 1973. That year was special for a different reason. It wasn’t special because of the gifts, there weren’t many of those. It wasn’t special because of the tree, all we could fit in our little trailer was a “Charlie Brown” kind of tree. It wasn’t especially memorable for the budget starved meals, they were meager at best. What made 1973 so special? That year I started reading the Christmas cards for the first time in my life. Many of them had prophetic Old Testament verses about the birth of Christ. Somehow, in the reading of those verses in the cards, reading the Christmas story for the first time as a Christian, and atending worship services with my Christian friends, my eyes began to open. I began to see the greatest of all miracles, God Himself had come amongst us in the form of a man. Immanuel, God with us, had been born in an animal stable in Bethlehem. Christmas was more than candy and toys, more than parties and friends. It was even more than the special family get togethers, God had come near. Jesus, the Savior had come to save us from our sins. I will never forget that Christmas in 1973. Parris and I were in our trailer, far away from home, sitting in front of our Charlie brown Christmas tree. We did not have any expensive gifts under that tree but we had discovered the most valuable treasure of all. The virgin had conceived and brought forth a Son, His Name is Immanuel, God with us.