Thursday, 20 December 2012


'Immanuel' – a pleasant sounding name, isn’t it? But, more than that, it has a great meaning….’GOD-IS-WITH-US.’ Anyone carrying this name should reflect that whenever his name is called this is a reminder to him that God is with him. Lucky fellow! This Christmas I want us to see ourselves as being Immanuel-People. God is with us. He loves us. Surely this must bring a new complexion to our lives.

How wonderful for us to have close to us other Immanuel-People – people who, by their very presence, their life-style, make us realize that God is in the district, our district. Let us now pause to drink in the words the angel spoke to Joseph about Mary,
She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.'Now all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: Look! the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call ‘Immanuel,’ a name which means 'God-is-with-us' (Mtt.1.21-23).

Mary’s child was most certainly a godly person, a godly child; but to say that is to say far, far too little.  Mary’s child was more than godly. IN TRUTH AND IN FACT, MARY’S CHILD WAS ACTUALLY GOD.  In the words of  St John, 
 Something which has existed since the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have watched and touched with our own hands, THE WORD OF LIFE -- this is our theme.
 That life was made visible; we saw it and are giving our testimony, declaring to you the eternal life, which was present to the Father and has been revealed to us. We are declaring to you what we have seen and heard, so that you too may share our life. Our life is shared with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.  We are writing this to you so that our joy may be complete,”
(1 Jn.1.1-4).

St. John was so obviously tingling with excitement as he reflected on the great privilege for him to have encountered Jesus ‘in the flesh.’ His letter was written after Jesus had been crucified, had risen from the dead and had entered into glory. In his letter St. John was not simply reflecting on a remembered experience, the wonderful intimacy of day-to-day friendship with Jesus. Yet more wonderfully, he was thrilled that the risen and glorified Christ was the very heart, the fullness, the fulfillment of his life!
No matter what his trials and tribulations, his disappointments, frustrations and failures  - and these are  surely part of the lives of us all – nothing could quench his on-going joy in his Lord Jesus Christ.  He was bubbling over with a joy that could not be contained. It had to be shared. For St. John, MY JOY IN IMMANUEL had to become YOUR JOY IN IMMANUEL and by this it had to become OUR JOY IN IMMANUEL. A shared joy finds itself multiplied over-and-over again.

I would like to think that what I have unearthed about the IMMANUEL-SPIRITUALITY of St. John has helped me to understand my own spirituality this Christmas. I would like to think you would here find your own spirituality. Then together we would have the highly-charged joy of it being OUR IMMANUEL-SPIRITUALITY.

Were you surprised that I spoke of unearthing the spirituality of St. John? Let me tell you, it did not come easily to me. I had to dig deeply into own self, ponder, reflect and muse in silence to discover what the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ meant to me personally. Eventually I came to see with a great intensity that the birth of My Lord Jesus Christ, meant He IS MY IMMANUEL….JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD, THE SON OF MARY. He IS WITH ME…HE IS MY IMMANUEL!

I am overjoyed to be sharing this with you now.  I urge you to take time off to dig deep into yourselves, take nothing for granted, and discover afresh the meaning of the babe-in-the-manger, Immanuel, has for you…so that you may be overjoyed.  Share this with others and your joy will be complete!
Your Twin-Bloggers,
Isidore and Peter Clarke, OP,
Wish abundant Christmas blessings
To you and those nearest and dearest to you.
Peter O.P.

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