January 1, 2016

Dear Liberty,

     The naming of a child.  It is a very important, thoughtful task parents embark on as they prepare for the arrival of their child.  It is how people will associate the child forever.  Many shape their whole lives around their name while others lives are defined by their name.

     There was no question what Joseph and Mary would name their first-born son.

     “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.”   Matt 1:21

     Following God’s Law and Jewish custom, after the birth of their child, Joseph and Mary took their son on his eighth day to be circumcised and named.

     “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.”  Luke 2:21

     This was not just the act of marking the child as one of God’s choose people. It was the day the baby was officially given his name.  This baby’s name, Jesus, was thoughtfully, carefully, and specifically chosen for him by his Heavenly Father.  God picked a name that would illuminate His son’s entire purpose, His reason for leaving Heaven and coming to Earth to fulfill the Law flawlessly only to suffer and die on the cross.

     Where others fail in one way or another, Jesus, true God and true man, lived up to His name perfectly - “God saves”.  But it was not just a name. It was a promise.   A promise made to the very first sinners, Adam and Eve, thousands of years earlier in the Garden of Eden.  (see Fruit Of The Forbidden Tree)

     “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.’” Gen 3:14–15

     Christ was given countless names throughout the Bible.

     “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (which means "God with us”) Isaiah 7:14; Matt 1:23

     “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

     “and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: "The Deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.”  Romans 11:26

     “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” John 1:29

     The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” John 4:25

     These are just a few examples but He fulfilled every last one given of Him throughout the entire Old and New Testaments.

     Starting on Christmas, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, January 1st is the eighth day, or day of purification. (see The Reason For The Season)  Some would call it coincidence.  I would call it another beautiful confirmation of God’s love for His people.  It is a reminder that our past sins are washed away with the blood of Christ, both at his circumcision and his crucifixion.  (see What's So Good About Good Friday?)  We have been purified, not by our actions, but by the perfect life of Jesus Christ.  While we celebrate a new calendar year, we also celebrate our new spiritual beginning received through the grace and forgiveness of Christ the Lord.

     Liberty, as we enter 2016, we can do so with comfort and encouragement as we know that whatever the future holds, the victory has already been won.  (see As Time Goes By)  Through grace we have received the blessings of Jesus’ holy name and have been given the gift of eternal life.  As Simeon glorifies God upon seeing Jesus on His day of purification, let us praise God as well singing:

“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.

For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.”

                                                                                                                             Luke 2:29-32


     Happy New Year!

     That’s my 2 cents.