God is with us
What does your name mean? Is there a story behind your name? When my wife was pregnant, we wrote lots of lists of names. We needed to make sure they looked and sounded right (whatever right means). We had a strong sense for each of our children that the name given would be significant to their journey. Our daughters name means ‘wrapped up and bound in unmerited favour’. Our boys names mean, ‘God is God and we will rejoice’ and ‘We will praise, from generation to generation’. Feel free to ask what their actual names are!
Abram’s name was changed by God, when God called him. He wasn’t the only one who had a rename when then encountered God’s direction. We read of Jacob becoming Israel, Simon becoming Peter and Saul becoming Paul. All of these as a direct result of starting a new journey of faith.
This week we begin to look to Christmas. The name points to the reason for the season. It is a celebration, a gathering, a communion to remember Christ. The name Christ means anointed one. In the old testament, priests and kings were anointed. Jesus, born to a virgin in a stable, was to be priest and king! Jesus was called other things in the gospels. He was called healer, lord, teacher.
What does Christmas mean to you? What does Jesus mean to you? When Jesus asked his disciples who people said he was, they said “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Those people had seen Jesus and understood the religious teachings. But they had not experienced Immanuel.
Immanuel means, ‘God with us’. This Christmas time, with all the celebrations and changes that are going on, ask yourself the question, “Who do you say Jesus is?” In Matthew 16:16 we read Peter’s answer; “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
My prayer this week is that you will recognise that God is with us, even when we face difficulties and trials.