“Do you know what ‘God with us’ means? Has it been God with you in your tribulations, by the Holy Ghost’s comforting influence?
Has it been God with you in searching the Scriptures? Has the Holy Spirit shone upon the Word?
Has it been God with you in conviction, bringing you to Sinai? Has it been God with you in comforting you, by bringing you again to Calvary?
Do you know the full meaning of that name Immanuel, ‘God with us’? No; he who knows it best knows little of it.
Alas, he who knows it not at all is ignorant indeed; so ignorant that his ignorance is not bliss, but will be his damnation. Oh! may God teach you the meaning of that name Immanuel, ‘God with us’!
Now let us close. ‘Immanuel.’ It is wisdom’s mystery, ‘God with us.’
Sages look at it, and wonder; angels desire to see it; the plumb-line of reason cannot reach half-way into its depths; the eagle-wing of science cannot fly so high, and the piercing eye of the vulture of research cannot see it.
‘God with us.’ It is hell’s terror. Satan, trembles at the sound of it; his legions fly apace, the black-winged dragon of the pit quails before it.
Let him come to you suddenly, and do you but whisper that word, ‘God with us,’ back he falls, confounded and confused. Satan trembles when he hears that name, ‘God with us.’
It is the labourer’s strength; how could he preach the gospel, how could he bend his knees in prayer, how could the missionary go into foreign lands, how could the martyr stand at the stake, how could the confessor own his Master, how could men labour if that one word were taken away? ‘God with us.’
’Tis the sufferer’s comfort, ’tis the balm of his woe, ’tis the alleviation of his misery, ’tis the sleep which God giveth to his beloved, ’tis their rest after exertion and toil.
Ah! and to finish, ‘God with us,’—’tis eternity’s sonnet, ’tis heaven’s hallelujah, ’tis the shout of the glorified, ’tis the song of the redeemed, ’tis the chorus of angels, ’tis the everlasting oratorio of the great orchestra of the sky. “God with us.”
“Hail thou Immanuel, all divine,
In thee thy Father’s glories shine,
Thou brightest, sweetest, fairest One,
That eyes have seen or angels known.”
Now, a happy Christmas to you all; and it will be a happy Christmas if you have God with you.
I shall say nothing today against festivities on this great birthday of Christ. I hold that, perhaps, it is not right to have the birthday celebrated, but we will never be amongst those who think it as much a duty to celebrate it the wrong way as others the right.
But we will tomorrow think of Christ’s birthday; we shall be obliged to do it, I am sure, however sturdily we may hold to our rough Puritanism.
And so, “let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
Do not feast as if you wished to keep the festival of Bacchus; do not live tomorrow as if you adored some heathen divinity.
Feast, Christians, feast; you have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting tomorrow, celebrate your Saviour’s birth; do not be ashamed to be glad, you have a right to be happy.
Solomon says, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.”
“Religion never was designed
To make our pleasures less.”
Recollect that your Master ate butter and honey. Go your way, rejoice tomorrow; but, in your feasting, think of the Man in Bethlehem; let Him have a place in your hearts, give Him the glory, think of the virgin who conceived Him, but think most of all of the Man born, the Child given.
I finish by again saying,—’A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!'”
–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Birth of Christ,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 40 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1894), 40: 610–611.