Summary: One of the feelings you may not associate with the coming of Christmas is loneliness. For Israel, not being spoken to by God for 400 years can cause such feelings. But along with that first Christmas’ feelings of loneliness also came the message "Immanuel

[Illustration]**The Horse Whisperer was a movie based upon the work of Monty Roberts. Monty Roberts’ secret of his horse whispering involves his getting into the corral with an untamed mustang and...When asked his secret, he says, The animals need to be with others so much, they would rather befriend the enemy than be left alone.

[Illustration]**Could you imagine dying alone? Glynn Wolfe died alone…in Los Angeles…he was 88. No one came to claim his body; the city paid to have him buried in an unmarked grave—sad, but not an unusual event in larger cities. Glynn’s situation was unique, however, because he was no ordinary man. He held a world record. If you look in The Guinness Book you will find him listed as the Most Married Man, of 29x...—and he died alone.

**A Gallop Report indicated “Of Americans who ate dinner last night, the percentage who ate alone was 22%.” **Mother Teresa once said, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer. It’s the feeling of being uncared for, unwanted—of being deserted and alone.” It has become more traditional for the Christmas season to be about loneliness than anything else.

[Illustration] A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy."

According to Erickson, who did a lot of research in child development, states that a baby’s first developmental stage is one of trust. A baby learns this of course from contact with his or her parents.

If a mom and dad give a newborn familiarity, consistency, and continuity, then the child will develop the feeling that people are reliable and loving and the world is a safe place to be. The first way an infant achieves this ability is letting mother out of sight for the first time without incurring anxiety.

Imagine yourself as a baby, lying in your crib, and momma leaves. You see her evaporate over the crib’s edge and she is gone. But mom comes back, and you are glad! This gone-and-back-again, gone-and-back-again creates snapshots you place in your inner photo book by which you compare and test and learn to rely on things. This predictability is how we learn to establish trust. If trust has been built for the child, it becomes a feeling we use in trusting others as well as ourselves. When trust develops within a child he feels secure about himself and loneliness is not much of an issue.

But if parents do not care for their child appropriately and perhaps even harm the child, then the child will develop mistrust. This will later lead to problems of dealing with other people.

Also, if the parents are overly protective and respond to a child’s every cry, a child will learn to be overly trusting and believe that no one would harm them. This can then lead to boundary problems and lack of knowledge about personal safety

Loneliness would seem to be rooted way back to our infant days and we can still be living it out today. BUT there is good news! Isn’t it wonderful that God knows all about us psychologically and in our totality. God knew what it would take to bring us into a relationship with him regardless of our past. Even before the baby had born, the angel said he would be called a name we needed to know him as, “Immanuel” –the most trusting name we could have. “God with us” is a name we need every day!

You see, if the Christmas season brings to the forefront feelings of loneliness for you to have to deal with, for that reason alone, this message is for you!

Christmas Heals Our Loneliness. For all the questions loneliness brings, Christmas answers in one word: “Immanuel.” Today and from now on, will you let Immanuel mean, “You are never alone!”

Immanuel was first spoken of by Isaiah. He prophesies that an unmarried young woman within the royal house would shortly marry and conceive. Her son would be called “Immanuel”. This prophecy was made in the presence of King Ahaz. Ahaz was calling out to Assyria for political assistance and protection. The prophecy stated that before the child was old enough to eat solid food the Assyrians would lay waste the lands of Aram and Israel, which they did, not even two years later.

The "sign" of that Immanuel’s birth revealed that the All-Sovereign and All-Knowing God has the situation completely in hand! The prophecy was meant to rebuke King Ahaz’s unfaithfulness in relying on Assyria instead of totally on God.

This prophecy wasn’t just given to King Ahaz, but to the house of David. In the fullness of time, another “Immanuel”, the Messiah-Child would be born through David’s lineage. He was to be a symbol of God’s salvation for His people—not simply from physical foes of that day, but ultimately from shackles of sin.

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