The Gift of a Name

Amy Clemens

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (v. 23)

Moms- and dads-to-be can spend hours, weeks, even months poring over names before the baby arrives. Maybe you’ve been there, and can remember both the joy and weight of choosing your child’s name. What if we are wrong about this? What does the name mean? What if our child doesn’t like it? I know someone else by that name, and I don’t like them!

We take our time with names because we understand the value and beauty of naming and being named. And, lest you feel you were too obsessive with the process, consider that Jesus’ Father chose his name about a thousand years before he was born, unveiling it first to the prophet Isaiah, and much later to Joseph.

As a good parent, God takes names very seriously, and the ones he decides on are saturated with meaning. Revelation 2:17 even tells us God will give a new name to each of us someday. When it came to his Son, God could have picked many wonderful names, but he chose God-With-Us, signaling an unflinching commitment to take on flesh, sympathize with our weaknesses, and become the perfect, sinless offering that would reconcile us with God, once for all.

—Amy Clemens

Giver of good gifts, today we’ll light the final candle of the Advent wreath, the Christ candle, to celebrate the birthday of God-With-Us. Thank you for making your advent among us, bringing light to our darkness, and reconciliation to our relationship with you.