Advent: Naming Jesus

Recently, a Southwest employee got in trouble for laughing at a child’s name. Her birth certificate revealed that her parents had chosen the name ABCDE (pronounced Ab-cidee). Now to be fair…if you selected ABCDE for a child’s name, you have to realize that ridicule will likely arise from that choice.

I remember the pressure in choosing the name for Eleanor Grace Barry…let alone Jack Wesley Barry, James Parker Barry and Thomas Murphy Barry. To declare the name of a person is a huge responsibility.

So imagine Joseph’s concern…he has to name the messiah after all. Luckily for him he was able to use the wisdom of the Angels and prophetic inclinations of Isaiah to name his son:


This is a powerfully theological name.

Jesus literally means–The Lord Saves–and we are told Joseph is to call him Jesus because “he will save his people from their sins.” The mission and goal of this child is stated clearly in this name. We are told that this Jesus is the one who will save the people from their sins.

How can this be? Because of Jesus’ second name…Emmanuel. Jesus is the why; Emmanuel is the how.

Emmanuel is “God with us.” Jesus is able to save us from our sins because He is the Lord, He is God.

In the blending of these two names we see the beauty of God. Jesus was one of the most common names at the time…while Emmanuel is the Divine appointment of this child.

So as you write down the names of friends and family onto gift tags and cards–take a moment to ponder the name of Jesus–The Lord who saves us from our sins because He is a God who is with us.

In order to fully appreciate the name of Jesus, write down the sins you need saving from this Christmas (seriously, do it). Then, in order to appreciate the name of Emmanuel, write down all the ways that you felt the steady, loving presence of God this Christmas season (seriously, do it too).

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