One of the names we use for Jesus, especially at the time of Advent, is ‘Immanuel’. It is a Hebrew word that means ‘God with us’. There are two parts to the name: ‘Immanu’ from which we get ‘immanent’ and ‘El’ which is ‘God’.
Let me illustrate.
A number of years ago we went as a family to a pantomime along with a number of colleagues from Baptist House, where I was working. The panto was Jack and the Beanstalk. I ended up sitting on the end of a row (this is significant later, don’t forget that detail).
We were enjoying and participating in the panto. The actors on the stage were performing wonderfully, engaging us, involving us in the “He’s behind you!” and “Oh no he isn’t!” shouts that form a traditional part of any pantomime plot (if you are not in the UK you will have to come and experience it for yourself). But even though we were enjoying it we were an audience and they were the actors.
At one point in the pantomime there was a scene in which Dame Trott (a lady of traditional build played by a man (it’s a British tradition) was being chased. A long stream of actors hared around the stage after her and then she headed down the steps and down the aisles among the audience.
For some reason, during the chase, Dame Trott decided to throw herself onto me (remember I was on the end of the row). It was quite a shock!
I was no longer in the audience while Dame Trott was on stage. She had come down among us and I was now involved.
It was Immanu-Dame Trott.
I am not wishing to belittle or diminish the Incarnation, but perhaps the above story helps you understand the name Immanuel a bit more. For those who met Jesus in the First Century AD it was as real as Dame Trott’s arrival was for me.
Be blessed, be a blessing