Thursday, December 22, 2011


I am blessed to have my brother, Keith, and three of his daughters, visiting this Christmas. God has blessed him with a quick, clever, witty brain, and so our house has been filled with lots of laughter since he arrived. Even though his comedic side does enjoy much exercise, his serious, thoughtful side is in just as good shape. Because words mean a lot to both of us, he'll often call me and share thoughts and ideas that are spawned from his Bible study or other readings.

About a month ago, he called with a just such a thought - one that I told him I wanted to share on my blog around Christmas because one of the words in his thought, Immanuel, is only typically heard around this time of the year. He was excited to convey the following with me.

Jesus traded manual labor for Immanuel labor.

This is the kind of statement that I can chew on all day. It reminds me that Jesus really did do manual labor for 30 years of his life. That everyday work was an integral part of preparing him for the work required of him during the last three years of his life.  I try to imagine what that looked like. A Google search yielded some artistic interpretations of that.

It also reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from The Passion of the Christ

He was a man. He did manual labor.

But that wasn't all he was, and that wasn't all he did. He was also God. God with us - Immanuel. And he was prepared to do what only Immanuel could do - die for our sins.

He became Immanuel on that very first Christmas.

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:23

God born one of us. God working among us. God dying for us.



  1. Maybe it's beyond the scope of your thought here, but I get pretty sensitive when people try to lump activities into "secular" and "sacred" as if we should be surprised that Jesus did manual labor as if it couldn't have been worship. Work is worship. A.W. Tozer wrote in The Pursuit of God:
    "Paul’s sewing of tents was not equal to his writing an Epistle to the Romans, but both were accepted of God and both were true acts of worship. Certainly it is more important to lead a soul to Christ than to plant a garden, but the planting of the garden can be as holy an act as the winning of a soul... Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter
    do no common act."

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    I am not trying to separate activities into secular and sacred. I believe all we do in this life is worship. I just liked the "manual-to-Immanuel" wording that highlighted the transition of Jesus' expression of worship from primarily hands on wood to hands on humanity.