“The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:9, NET)
God with us” summarizes the hope of God’s people. Moses expressed it this way: “If your presence does not go with us, do not take us up from here. For how will it be known then that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not by your going with us, so that we will be distinguished, I and your people, from all the people who are on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15–16). Many nations other than Israel claimed to have a god or gods. But the God Israel worshipped actually exists; He is with them.
In the incarnation, the Creator became a creature. John described the Son as the true light coming into the world, an allusion to creation: “God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light!” (Genesis 1:3).
Before His death Jesus prayed, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24). Later, John saw the answer to this prayer in the vision of the new heaven and new earth. He heard the voice of God proclaim, “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them” (Revelation 21:3). In this city there will be no need for light, for “the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).
Jesus came to be with us so that we could spend eternity with Him. “God with us” does not end with the birth of the Savior. “God with us” is the hope He came to bring.