This is a special Christmas for me because, as some of you know, six
weeks ago my wife and I had our own brand new baby, and he's a real
gift. He was even in the pageant this year, playing a baby.
Unlike lots of people these days, my wife and I didn't know if we
were going to have a boy or a girl beforehand, so we couldn't choose a
name. We had to have both boys' and girls' names in mind to be ready.
And one of the things that we did was read the Bible to look at names,
because there are a lot of good ones there. In the Bible the names all
mean something special, and they're all attached to someone special,
which is nice.
The truth is that some parts of the Bible have a surplus of names.
For example we just read a scripture about Christmas, and in seven
verses we heard ten names, which is pretty amazing. Listen to them:
Augustus, Quirinius, Syria, Joseph, Nazareth, Galilee, Judea, David,
Bethlehem, and Mary. It's a great list. But I noticed something about
this list, too. I think that there is one name missing from this story.
Do you know what name that is? (Jesus)
Isn't that funny? This is the story about Jesus' birth, and his name
is never mentioned. I wonder why that
Let me tell you something interesting about His name: something you
might not know. In the days when He was born it was the custom for
entire families and very, very often for entire communities to name
each baby. People chose a name from their family or their area, the way
they still do in some parts of the world today. But the Bible family
didn't name Jesus. You know who did? It was an angel, named Gabriel,
which means "man of God," and he did this on God's behalf.
And do you know what the name Jesus means? It means "He
saves." So this was a pretty good choice.
But here's something else funny about our readings tonight. We're
about to hear another big part of the Christmas story, twelve more
verses of scripture, and not a one of them includes the name of Jesus,
either. You'll hear Savior and Christ and Lord but
not "Jesus." Not in twelve more verses.
Some people say there are twelve days of Christmas, and I've noticed
something about them, too. Sometimes it's possible to go through the
whole time, Christmas Day, talking, reading, shopping, getting together
with family and never hear the name of Jesus. Sometimes we get ready,
set, and go and never stop to say His name, to thank Him, to pray to
Him or celebrate Him. These days it's almost possible to go through
this whole time without speaking His name, which is a shame because
Jesus is the reason for the season. You don't have to count, but you
could watch out and see how many times we say Jesus during the songs
and prayers coming up in our service tonight. And you don't have to
count, but you could watch out and make sure that someone mentions
Jesus tomorrow and the day after and the day after, too, through all
twelve days of Christmas and more.
Whenever you hear His name, remember that He was named by an angel
of God, and His name means "He saves." Which is God's
Christmas present for all the world. Christmas present, past, and
future. Don't you just love Jesus' name? Amen.
Copyright © 2005
Kenneth F. Baily. Used by permission.