In ancient Israel, God could be seen only as a cloud. Even then, God had something more in mind. Isaiah prophesied to Ahaz: “…the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (Is 7). Emmanuel (God with us) would be very much a visible human being who would guide his people and save them.
We who are Christians see “Emmanuel” as God with us in Jesus. The name implies the presence of Jesus in every way: his humanity as well as his divinity—his grace, his saving word, his Eucharist.
The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanks-giving. Through and with Jesus, we offer thanks for being reconciled with the Father and with one another. That, after all, is what Jesus came to do. As presence in the Tabernacle the Eucharist continues to be a reminder of this double reconciliation.
What people has its God so close to them as your Christian people, Lord? On the one hand, you are still mysterious. On the other, you are a brother and a friend who abides in our homes and our hearts. Thank you, Lord, for giving us yourself.