Pastor Mark Harris’ Page

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“...the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel.” — Isaiah 7:14 (ESV) 

It’s About to Get... Real!

Five years ago, my wife Brittany and I were looking forward to a very special Christmas — our first one as a family of THREE. Though we could hardly contain our eager excitement during the pregnancy as we awaited the birth of our baby boy, it hardly felt real to us for a while. As I reflect back on that season of life there were a few key moments that helped to make it all so much more real for me.

One of those moments was when Brittany’s radiant smile introduced me to the first sign of her emerging baby-bump. Something was really different about her! And I remember vividly the almost-electric sensation of feeling my son’s leg kicking against my awaiting fingers. There really was someone curled up in that tiny space!

But perhaps more than anything else, there was one thing that pulled me into the reality that I was about to have a son: knowing what his name would be. As soon as the name “Ezra” was given to this precious baby we couldn't even see yet, our anticipation no longer centered around an idea… but on a person. Being able to know our little “Ezra” by name (even before we could see him) had the power of making our son seem so real to us!

I can’t help but think that God might have had this kind of result in mind when He inspired the prophet Isaiah to announce the name of the Messiah long before He would be born. Yes, God’s people would still have to wait a long time for this promised Savior to enter the world… but God graciously desired their hope to be real even during that period of waiting. So He announced the name: Immanuel. The baby would be “God with us” — so much more than an idea… their hope could now be placed in a person whose name revealed the heart of His purpose.

As we enter the waiting emphasized during Advent and anticipate the celebration of Christmas 2019, I pray that this holy season will be real for you. Jesus, the promised Immanuel, will really be with you during each of these days. And maybe even for the first time, I pray that our Immanuel will work through you to help make it all real for someone else too when you share the real story about Him with them.

Merry Christmas and a blessed Advent to you and yours! Pastor Mark Harris
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