On a hot and humid day one August, my wife gave birth to our second son. But he remained nameless as we struggled to settle on a given name. After spending many hours in ice cream shops and taking long car rides, we still couldn't decide. He was simply "Baby Williams" for three days before finally being named Micah.
Choosing the right name can be a little frustrating. Well, unless you're God, who came up with the perfect name for the One who would change things forever. Through the prophet Isaiah, God directed King Ahaz to ask Him "for a sign" to strengthen his faith (Isaiah 7:10-11). Though the king refused to ask for a sign, God gave him one anyway: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (v. 14). God named the child, and He would be a sign of hope to people going through despair. The name stuck and Matthew breathed new meaning into it when he wrote the narrative of Jesus' birth (Matthew 1:23). Jesus would be "Immanuel." He wouldn't just be a representative of God, but He would be God in the flesh, coming to rescue His people from the despair of sin.
God gave us a sign. The sign is a Son. The Son's name is Immanuel-God with us. It's a name that reflects His presence and love. Today, He invites us to embrace Immanuel and know that He's with us.