3 Names You Need at Christmas
The only answer to the tragedies and evil of this world is found in the comforting presence of God. Specifically, at this time of the year, we find it in the Jesus who grew up in Nazareth. It’s been said that happiness is a reaction to life but joy is the state of a heart with its foundation upon the gospel. Christmas certainly bolsters that understanding. We get happy about lights, carols, and presents; which all fade quickly. But the Christmas event imparts everlasting joy. When we see the evil of the world through the lens of a holiday’s trappings, we will be overcome. But, evil fails to negate the goodness of God as witnessed through the birth of His Son. In considering the joy He brings, we need to remember three names at Christmastime.
It was a common name to the Hebrews and simply means “The Lord saves.” Yet, for this boy named Jesus, it was not simple at all. In this ultimate Jesus, we find the man who can fulfill the promise of His name. He is common in physical form and thus sympathizes with our weaknesses. In fact, Hebrews 4:15 teaches us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus lived a life like ours so we could be transformed to live a life for Him. We receive joy because God was willing to condescend to where we live for our salvation.
The title means Savior or Messiah. It is hope being fulfilled. We’ve been waiting for the hero of our story and He has arrived. Just not as we expected. The Savior’s arrival in such humble estate is shocking. We expected marching bands, an army, and lots of fanfare. But His plans are different. God undertook a mission into our world to save us. Matthew 1:21 declares, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” The name and title of Jesus and Christ give us the powerful understanding that our sin is killing us and God has done something about it. Because we put ourselves in His place on the throne, He put Himself in our place on the cross. Miraculously, God involved Himself personally in our salvation.
The title is a reference to the prophecies of Isaiah. The simple translation is “God with us” but there is nothing simple about the understanding. God’s presence with us is the both comforting and confrontational. He counts Himself among the rebels and then carries their sin. He comforts those afflicted by its weight and then confronts us with the command to repent. In all of this, the only reason I can find for God to do such a thing is this: He loves us.
Throughout the season of Christmas, we search for understanding about the incarnation. It is simple to say: God became a man. It is powerfully difficult to understand: God became a man. But through it all, let us come face to face with God the Son. He is Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us.
image credit: Radiant