In the surface reading of this Scripture, it is easy to ask an obvious question: If they were supposed to call him Emmanuel, how did he get to be named Jesus? The short of it is, Jesus is a rendering of Joshua which means God saves. Through Jesus God saves, not only his chosen people but the entire world.
The other question that arises for us as people of faith is "isn't God always with us?" This questions shapes our attention from Advent to Christmas. In the context of this scripture, Jesus came to save his people. And who are his people (read Matthew 1:1-17)? We find in the genealogy of Jesus to remind us of the words of the prophets. The genealogy weaves its way through the patriarchs of faith, women, and even kings of Babylon to allow us, the readers and hearers, that the people God has come to save are in exile; exile in Babylon, exile in rome, exile now. Wherever God has been, or may be, the people are in exile.
As one commentator put it; "And they are waiting to be delivered from the missteps that have landed them there, repeatedly.
These people are our ancestors by faith. Like them, wherever we find ourselves, we are waiting to be delivered from our sense of God's absence to a time and place where we know that God is with us." (Holly Hearon)
As the season of advent comes to a close, we wait to be delivered by the God who has come to be with us.....Emmanuel, Jesus!