Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, June 25

Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel, which means, God with us.
—Matthew 1:23

God’s mysterious response to Moses before the bush that burned but was not consumed (Exodus 3) suggests that God’s presence was somehow key to Moses’ identity and call. The prophet Isaiah’s ancient prophecy of the child to be born of a virgin, which is quoted by the evangelist Matthew at the beginning of his gospel, takes the nature of this mysterious Presence even further.

God-with-us is not only who we are; in the Incarnation, God-with-us is also who Jesus is. It is his very name: Emmanuel.

God not only travels with us, dwells among us at the edge of the camp: God in Jesus has become one of us, the uncreated God has taken on our flesh and blood. This is the astounding gift, the amazing grace at the heart of the Incarnation: God loves us that much. The Holy One who created the whole universe condescended to become a creature in order to save us from ourselves, to be “with us” in our vulnerability so entirely that he gave himself to a terrible death that we might live forever.

The winter months of Advent are usually when we ponder (in the words of Madeleine L’Engle) this “glorious impossible.” But now is also a good time for us to think on these things. If we follow tradition and believe that Jesus was born just after the winter solstice in December, and that the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary in late March to announce “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee...” then now, in late June, Mary would have been three months pregnant with our Lord. Invisibly to the rest of the world, she already carried His heart beneath her own, cherishing the secret life growing within her womb.

God of Moses and Mary, we cannot really comprehend the ways and the depths at which you are with us. We thank you that you are with us, whether we comprehend it or not. May your presence with and in and among and before us be more and more the strength of all our ways.

The Signposts for June are written by Deborah Smith Douglas and originally appeared on in May 2005.