Jesus Christ, Immanuel, Nazarene, Beloved
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
We’ve been focusing on the names of Jesus this season by looking at the first three chapters of Matthew’s gospel. The name Jesus which means Yahweh saves is accompanied by the title, Jesus the Christ (Matthew 1), the Messiah, a King who serves. Thus Advent is about a rescue mission that Jesus embarked on 2000 years ago by coming to earth. He came near, Immanuel (Matthew 1), God with us. He is the Nazarene (Matthew 2), choosing a path of suffering and humility even though being God himself. Jesus knew he was the Beloved (Matthew 3) and ultimately took the cross so we could become the beloved sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. What an amazing Christmas story!
In the Yee household we celebrate the twelve days of Christmas, otherwise knows as Christmastide. Christmas Day marks Day 1 and Day 12 is Epiphany Eve, January 5, 2021. Each day our kids open another gift and we read books related to Christmas. As you can imagine, our tree stays up throughout this whole time (and sometimes longer) as we soak in this celebration of coming of the Christ child.
One of the books Kati and I use to tell the true story of Christmas to our kids is The Jesus Storybook Bible. The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 being evicted from the Garden because of their sin doesn’t sound like a Christmas story, but it’s the reason Christmas exists. Humanity has sinned but God won’t give up on us.
God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan—a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes. You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children—with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him always, and long for him—lost children yearning for their home. Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake. I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I’m coming back for you!” And he would. One day, God himself would come.
His name is Jesus, the Christ, our Immanuel, the Nazarene, the Beloved of God, who bestows unlosable love to all who seek him.
No matter what 2020 has thrown at you and whatever is to come in 2021, you have a love that you can never be separated from (Romans 8). Christmas should be celebrated not just twelve days but 365 days! Let’s commit to dig deeper into the reality of God’s Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What name of Jesus is most meaningful in to you in your current circumstances? How would you like to see God be more present in your life in 2021?
God, this has been a challenging year. We don’t know what 2021 brings, but we know we don’t want to live one day without knowing your love. Even though we fail to be faithful, you continue to show your unshakeable love. Thank you for being relentless in loving us this past year and for promising to not abandon us in the next. You deserve all of our attention and we ask your Holy Spirit to continue guide, teach and empower us to follow your ways. Amen.