A Special Gift with Special Names
Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship Message
Text: Matthew 1:18-25
“That’s not what I wanted dad!” “Yes it is, son. You wanted a new pair of blue shorts for Christmas.” “Yeah. But I wanted Nike shorts, dad. These are made by Target.”
“Mom! I didn’t want a doll for Christmas. I wanted a Barbie doll for Christmas! Argh! It’s not the same!”
Isn’t it amazing how finicky and fickle children can become when it comes to Christmas presents? Rather than being thankful that they receive any gifts at all, they can become demanding for special gifts with special names. It can’t be any old hand held video game. It has to be a Nintendo DS. It can’t be any old toy or puzzle. It has to be made by Mattel or the Disney Corporation. And don’t even dare buying a car unless it’s Lightning McQueen or an action figure if it’s not Buzz Lightyear!
But do we change when we become older? Somehow we think shoes won’t run as fast if they aren’t Nikes. Meat won’t taste as good if it’s Walmart Big Value brand and not Boar’s Head or Oscar Mayer. And I’m still trying to figure out how my wife can try to convince me a purse will hold things better if it has the name Gucci or Prada.
William Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” We understand his point. Names don’t change the essence of who we are or what something is. But at the same time, names are important. Names can be very special. Names can mean something very special. Names can tell us something very special.
And surely, the most special Christmas gift of all—Jesus—has the most special names of all. Here’s what the angel Gabriel told Joseph about Mary and her child: “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.”
This would be no ordinary child. This child would be named Jesus, which means, “He saves.” Even his name describes what he came to do—save his people from his sins.
This child would be the long awaited Savior. He would be the one to change everything—to live a life unlike any other. He would walk and talk and live and love with absolute perfection and in fulfillment of all of God’s demands.
Then he would go to a cross to die for all of our imperfection. Our lies, our lust, our cursing, our swearing, our greed, our envy, our anger, our hatred, our rage, our spiritual apathy and laziness, our doubts, our worries—any and every sin we have ever committed or ever will commit—he came to save us from them all. So he fulfilled his special name of Jesus. He saved us from our sins.
Matthew tells us in verse 23 that this also fulfilled a prophecy of the prophet Isaiah from 700 years before: “’The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’—which means, ‘God with us.’” This special gift of God, this special child, would also be called Immanuel which means in Hebrew the with us God or God with us.
Another profound name! This special child was not just another baby boy, but he was also God—come to be with us. What incredible love of God that he wouldn’t just leave us to rot and die in our sins, but he himself came to save us. He himself came to live with us and to die for us. God came to be with us, so that we could be with him forever in heaven.
There’s nothing like watching children open their Christmas presents. What joy they have, in particular when they know how special a gift is.
So too this year we behold our special gift lying in a manger. We know how special he is because of his special names. He is Immanuel—God come to be with us. He is Jesus—the one who came to save us. This Christmas cherish your special gift with his special names—Immanuel; Jesus; Savior.
Posted on December 26, 2011, in Church, Sermons and tagged Buzz Lightyear, Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve Candlelight, Church, Gifts, Gucci, Immanuel, Jesus, Lightning McQueen, Manger, Matthew, Matthew 1, Names, Nintendo, Prada, Sermons, Shakespeare. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.