'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel
(which means “God with us”).'
Matthew 1:23, NIV
It would be Vianca, Bobby, and Vivian's first Christmas without their father. He was incarcerated, and the family was struggling with his absence. The three siblings had never been separated from their father before, and they missed him terribly.
Their mother Rocio had once been a stay-at-home mom, but her husband's conviction forced her to care and provide for their children alone. She barely had enough money to give her children food—much less presents. Desperate and alone, she called out to God for help. Then one day, there was a knock on the door. An Angel Tree® volunteer from a nearby church had brought presents for the kids from their dad.
Their dad still wasn't home, but the presents helped them feel loved and remembered. "I cannot express the joy and love that I felt …," says Rocio. "We are a living testimony that God is real."
'GOD WITH US'
When life gets hard or frightening, God is never too busy or too removed to hear our cries for His help. That doesn't always mean He will take our problems away, but it does mean He will be with us and help us make it through.
At the time when Jesus was about to be born, God's people were in serious trouble. They were being ruled by a wicked, oppressive king. They cried out to God, and He sent Jesus, who would also be called Immanuel: "God with us." He didn't just step in to erase their problem. He came to walk with them, share their experiences, free them from sin, and restore them to new life. And Immanuel is with us every step of the way, too.
From all of us at Prison Fellowship, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
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