Dec. 23. O Emmanuel, our King and Law-giver, the Expected of nations and their Saviour, Come and save us, O Lord our God.
During the reign of the idolatrous king Achaz (753-718 B.C.) when the first news reached the capital that a Syrian army had invaded the territory of Israel and was marching against Jerusalem, the king relying only upon human means made feverish preparations for the defence of the city. God then commanded the prophet Isaiah to go and meet the king in order to arouse in him faith in divine Providence, and to threaten him with destruction in case he refused to trust in God’s protection. On that occasion the prophet reiterated the messianic promise summed up in the name of a child to be born:Emmanuel. God with us (Is. 7, 14; 8, 9) –The same theme was repeated to the people in Exile: the oppressor would be overthrown and Israel restored, “for the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King: He will reign” (Is. 33, 22).
Jacob before dying called his sons and left to them by way of testament a prophecy of each one’s future. To Judah he foretold that “the sceptre shall not depart from Judah … until the day when He comes who is to be sent to us, He the hope of the nations” (Gen.49, 16).
The mission of the Servant of Yahweh was to be “the light of the Gentiles, that God’s salvation might reach to the end of the earth” (Is. 49, 6); “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Is. 52, 10).
To Joseph the angel announced that the birth of Jesus was the birth of the Saviour: “Emmanuel”, God with us. His every name JESUS revealed his mission, that of saving mankind.