There’s no way to escape the fact that the promised sign of Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14 is surrounded by intense predictions of judgment for King Ahaz and the people of Judah. Sadly, the promises associated with this child would not benefit Ahaz because he refused to believe in God’s word. God’s promises are absolutely astounding, but the Bible is clear that they are only accessed by faith.  Faith is refusing to look to anyone or anything else besides God to find security and hope.  Faith requires an abandonment of self-interest and self-protection.  Faith places oneself in God’s hands at his complete disposal.  Surely, this is why, in a book like Isaiah, which is filled with wars and judgment and constant threats, that God chose to focus all of his people’s hope in a future child, who will embody the presence of God.  We just saw it in Is. 7; in Is. 9 the child is called Mighty God and there is no end to his reign on the throne of David and then in Is.11, the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him in such a way that he possesses all of the attributes of the Lord God.         

And the child did not come in the OT era, so thus those who had faith in the Lord waited with increasing expectation throughout the generations for him to bring forth this promise.  But when the fullness of time had come, around 700 years after the prophecy of Is. 7, the virgin birth of Immanuel took place in Bethlehem—Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”               

However, Immanuel is not his only name.  He is also called Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.  Entrusting your soul to the promised Immanuel is the only way to be saved from your own wickedness and unbelief.  And He secures this salvation, not just by being born and not merely by representing God perfectly in his works and words, but by dying on a cross in place of sinners and then rising from the dead on the 3rd day to then ascend to heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father.  The Bible also teaches that He will come back one day to gather his people and judge the world.  This means that part of celebrating him at Christmas is longing for his return and longing for all of his promises to come to pass in the vindication of his glory.  This is the desire of all who trust in him.  On that day it will be evident that if you do not believe, you will be not secure.     

The Lord came to save sinners, so any sinner can turn to him to find forgiveness of sins and a perfect righteousness granted by faith alone.  This is the good news of Christmas and the celebration of Immanuel.