Read Isaiah 7:10-14, Ps. 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38

“Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

In our first reading today, we are reminded of how Isaiah delivered a great sign to King Ahaz, who was frightened upon hearing of impending disaster. Ahaz and all the kingdom's people needed to hear the name ‘Emmanuel’ and reassure themselves of God’s presence with them. They needed to know that their safety and protection do not lie in the weapons of war but in God’s presence with them.

Our Gospel passage directly fulfils God's sign to King Ahaz. God sent the Angel Gabriel to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary. Mary is that virgin that Isaiah spoke about, and she will be the one to conceive and give birth to this child named Emmanuel.

However, instead of saying his name shall be Emmanuel according to Isaiah’s prophecy, the Angel Gabriel said to Mary: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” In other words, Christ had two names: ‘Emmanuel’ and ‘Jesus.’ Isaiah revealed his first name, which defines who He is: God with us. Angel Gabriel revealed his second name, which defines His role: Saviour of mankind.

Like Jesus Christ, we all have two names: one which appears on our certificates and one which defines who we are. Although the names we bear may vary, the kind of life we live must reflect our real identity – Christlike, children of God. People should not only call us Christians; they must also see Christ in us.

How can I live like Christ when it is so hard to resist the temptation to sin? Even Mary wondered: “‘How can this be since I am a virgin?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35)

Just as the Holy Spirit produced a child in Mary’s womb, He can change your story. The Holy Spirit can make you overcome sin and incarnate Christ. Call on Him today. If He made Elizabeth conceive in old age, it is not too late for Him now. The Holy Spirit can still transform you no matter how deeply you sinned.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, work in me as you worked in Mary that I may live out my Christian identity to the fullest. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (20 December. Bible Study: Isaiah 7:10-14, Ps. 24:1-6, Luke 1:26-38).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu