“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’)” (Isaiah 7:14, NLT).

His Name Shall Be, ImmanuelWaiting for Christmas morning to arrive so the gifts can be opened is hard for children—and adults too. Many packages have been held up to the light, shaken or weighed in an effort to determine what’s inside. Some have even been broken from too vigorous shaking. We just can’t stand not knowing. All through the Old Testament, God gave hints about the Messiah and his coming was greatly anticipated. But when it finally happened and Jesus was born, most didn’t recognize him.

God gave the sign of the Savior well ahead of time, to give a peek into the biggest gift of all, the gift that would change the world. It may have seemed a little strange and was certainly unexpected, which may be why it was hard to believe, then and now. An unwed, teenage virgin giving birth to the son of God? That’s not how we would have done it. But God doesn’t do the expected—he’s full of surprises and his story gives us lots of twists and turns to keep us guessing. The sign was real, the gift better than expected and is one that keeps giving, both now and forever.

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