It is my favorite name for Jesus. And it encapsulates the amazing and incomprehensible gift of God to us for it literally means "God with us."
It is fitting that Jesus arrived in the squalid confines of Bethlehem. It was the other side of the tracks - more of a slum than the cute Christmas villages we put up on our mantels. A birth in a stable is a messy affair but our hearts are messy, our lives are messy and many of the situations we face are the result of living in a fallen and messy world. The gift of Emmanuel is that He chooses to enter into our mess, whatever our situation and be with us. In the incarnation He became one of us and through the Holy Spirit daily lives with us.
Think of the worst situation you can imagine, or the one you or a close friend is going through right now and then remember, Emmanuel is with you, just as when He first entered this world in Bethlehem. Not only that but He is walking through whatever situation you have with you. God with us. As Paul said, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8).
The gift of God to us was not only Jesus in the incarnation but Jesus who would for the first time live in each of His followers through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Emmanuel, God with us. It is the gift that keeps on giving, every year, every hour, all the time.