Advent Readings Day 28

 

Reading: Matthew 1:18 – 25 

“All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means, ‘God is with us.’  When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.”  Matthew 1:22 – 25

As a father, one of my favorite tasks was getting to name our children.  Christy and I prayed for each of our children and sought God for what it was that He desired the meaning of the names of our children to be.  We felt in naming them, we were somehow trying to get His heart for our children as well as His plans.   My favorite naming was for our daughter Caia.  We felt that she was to have a name that meant Joy, but without naming her Joy.  We poured over the books and the websites, but nothing was fitting – then finally we dug into languages and came out with Caia – to rejoice.  Today, she is full of joy and brings that joy to others.

Here Joseph is getting instruction on naming Jesus, because of what He is going to become.  If we look closely we’ll see that there are two names that Jesus is to be called by – Jesus and Emmanuel.  Both have incredible meanings for us to ponder this day before Christmas.  Both of these names will forever transform the landscape of the world.  His character found in these 2 names changes everything for us.

First, take the name Jesus that the angel speaks to Joseph.  “You are to name Him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  A foretelling of what Jesus is going to do.  The Savior.  The one who saves us from our sins.   The one who comes into a world filled with brokenness, sinfulness, injustice and darkness.   He was born into this world – and He saves you and I from our sins.  He calls us to life, wholeness and holiness.  What has He saved you from?

Chances are that tonight you are going to have a full time of celebration.  Maybe you will attend a Christmas Eve service.  Maybe you will have a time of feasting with family.   Chances are there is a celebration you are going to find yourself in.  While there, take just a few moments to consider why you are celebrating.  Take some time to let the reality of the One who was named Savior, Jesus, came to save you.   He has redeemed you.  Can it get any better?

I think it can.  Take the other name mentioned here for Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us.  What does this word really mean?  It turns us toward Jesus becoming like us and making His home among us as He walked the earth.  But, it also turns us toward the fact that He is still present to us.  As you spend time in celebration tonight, consider the idea that He is Present to you.  He is there celebrating with you. He was there before you arrived and He will linger after you leave.  He is with you – making His Presence known to you.  You don’t have to wait until someday in the future to see the benefit of salvation. No, He is right there with you and He loves to make His Presence known.

Jesus. Emmanuel.  There’s something amazing about those names.

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