The little Greek preposition “meta” is a cool word. We have used it in English for a long time. The basic concept is to translate it “with” and attach it to another word. For example, “meta physics” or “metamorphosis.” (Right now, it appears that Zuckerberg is using it to rebrand the tarnished image of Facebook.)
In biblical Greek, it has a wide range of definitions. The list almost sounds like that list of prepositions most of us had to memorize in the 5th grade. My list started with “after” and ended in “under, up, with.”
But mostly, “meta” just means “with.” Sometimes, it carries the idea of “after with,” meaning it is looking toward some aftereffect, change, or result. I am convinced that is a marvelous insight into our Christmas passage found in Mathew 1:23: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’”
There is an amazing “aftereffect” to that short phrase.
“God with us” is an incredible statement of hope and encouragement. It covers all kinds of circumstances, and in each situation the concept forces us to consider some positive change or aftereffect that we are anticipating.
“God with us” is not just a statement of position or availability, it is a statement of future importance. Since He is with us (at all times, in all situations), we have hope in a future moment.
Sometimes that moment is right around the corner as an immediate answer to prayer.
Sometimes, that moment is out in our future disguised with difficulties and challenges.
Sometimes, that moment seems too distant to fathom.
It is then we should remember, “God with us.” He is with us now, in the days to come, in the years as they roll by, and ultimately, for all eternity. Since the announcement of His birth, Christ has anticipated an incredible aftereffect from His incarnation. He is with us.
Maybe that short phrase can become a “breath prayer” for all of us this next week. Quietly in our heart or out loud with our family, let’s reassure ourselves of that glorious truth: God is with us!