“21After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child;
and he was called Jesus,
the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Today we start a new liturgical season, Christmas. In Advent we prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus. Yesterday we celebrated that birth. The Christmas season includes one or two Sundays and ends after January 6 when we celebrate the coming of the Wise Men or Magi. During the Christmas season we look at the childhood of Jesus. We do not know that much but Scripture does tell us that on his eight day Jesus was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem, circumcised and named. Names are important. They often carry family lineage if named after an important relative or names can carry the dreams of the parents. We named our first child “gift of God” for the child was such a dream come true for us and his middle name was a grandfather’s name.
Jesus received his name from his father, God. An angel visited Joseph after Joseph discovered Mary was pregnant. It appeared she had been unfaithful and Joseph had decided to dismiss her quietly. The angel told Joseph in a dream not to fear, the child was of God. “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. (Matthew 1:21)” We have many titles we give Jesus. He is known as the Messiah, the Christ, Savior, Lord, Son of God, and Son of Man.
This week we will look at names God gives to people in the Old Testament, names that were so key to their identity. Let us take a moment as we unwind from all the excitement of yesterday and just allow our hearts and minds to appreciate all that little baby born “to save us from our sins,” means to us. We write thank you notes for our presents, so certainly we can spend time saying thank you to a God willing to incarnate to save us.
Enjoy this old Maranatha song praising the name of Jesus! Blessings.