Emmanuel…God is with Us

One December afternoon, I found myself standing at the front door of a three family home on the South side of Brockton. With two wonderful volunteers, three bags of Christmas gifts and a $50 gift card to Stop & Shop in tow, I rang the bell. Within a few seconds a
young man in his late teens flung the door open. He introduced himself as Emmanuel
and welcomed us inside.
Our volunteer Steve asked Emmanuel if he knew the meaning of his name. “God is with us,” he responded. Steve complimented Emmanuel on his prompt answer. The exchange was a beautiful and appropriate start to a Christmas delivery.
I stepped into the apartment and introduced myself to Monique, Emmanuel’s mother. After placing the gifts under the tree I noticed a young boy, perhaps six years old, perched on the edge of the sofa. I approached him and asked his name. “Isaac,” he told me. Another biblical name.
I was so distracted by delivering the gifts that I did not see the two electric pianos next to each other in the room. Our volunteer Kristen, however, noticed right away and asked Isaac if he played piano. He simply nodded his head yes. “Will you play for us?” Kristen asked with a smile.
“No,” he responded, yet Isaac nodded his head and started walking towards the smaller of the two pianos. He sat on the chair then shyly turned and smiled at his older brother. “Here Isaac, I’ll play with you,” Emmanuel said with a kind grin as he sat down at the
larger of the two pianos.
Nothing could have prepared me for what
happened next.
The two brothers sat with their backs to us, gave each other a quick smile, then let their fingers dance across the keyboards. Emmanuel’s hands moved fluidly producing
intricate melodies while Isaac struck harmonizing chords. Together, they produced
music that could only be described as joyful.
They played perfectly in time with each other for a few minutes as the volunteers
and I stared in awe at the talent pouring from their hands. I glanced at their mother
Monique—she was leaning lightly against the doorframe of the room with a small
smile on her face as she proudly watched her boys make music together.
All too soon the song came to an end. Isaac turned around with a winning grin
on his face, knowing he had completely impressed us. “Isaac,” Emmanuel said,
“Let’s play the one that we wrote for them.” And so they were off with a heartfelt
Our private concert felt like a sincere thank you for bringing Christmas gifts to
their home—but the privilege was all ours to witness such a loving, pure picture of
camaraderie and mentorship within family.
The love and hope of Jesus Christ flooded through their music into our hearts. I knew
in that moment that God was with us.
Lisa is a member of our Easton staff through a post-graduate volunteer program
called Stonehill Service Corps. She graduated in May 2014 with degrees in
Marketing and Studio Art.