One of the most joyous announcements we hear is the news of a newborn baby. With this news comes the usual information: the baby’s gender, weight and length. But the most exciting aspect is hearing the baby’s name. It is exciting because their name becomes a part of their identity. It is how they will be known and referred to for the rest of their life. In a way, their name is who they will become.
At Christmas we celebrate a baby being born. We are not given the usual numbers of the baby’s weight and length, but we are given a name. In Matthew Chapter 1, an angel appears to Joseph in a dream and says:
21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
My name “Clayton” apparently means “a dweller in the clay town.” I must admit, it is not so inspiring. But Jesus, on the other hand, was given a name that wonderfully describes his destiny. “Jesus” is the Greek form of “Joshua”, which means “God saves.” Right from the very beginning, even before he got out of the feeding trough, Jesus’ name brought an expectation. Was this child going to bring God’s long-promised salvation? But wait, there is more! Matthew also goes on to give Jesus a title. He writes this in the next verse:
22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Very humbly, God became a man. You might have a high view of humanity, but for God, becoming one of us was a big step down. He limited himself to time and space and became intimately involved in everything human. He left the majesty of heaven to dwell in all the grubbiness of this world. There must have been a huge motivation for such an amazing act. Well, look in a mirror. For in there, you will see the reason for this astounding act of humility. He became a man to die as a man to win you back. Christmas is a lot more than some cute story. It is a love story that goes beyond anyone’s imagination. So, this Christmas, I encourage you to do just one thing: remember his name.