Beyond Narnia: Always Christmas, Never Winter

Friday is for Heart Songs

The Importance of the Names of Christ

 The Old Testament makes it clear that it is God alone who can save men and women from sin and the corrupting influence of sin:

Genesis 49:18                         2 Kings 19:15-19                     2 Chron. 14:11 
2 Chronicles 20:5-12              Psalm 3:8                                 Psalm 25:5
Psalm 37:39                            Psalm 62:1                               Psalm 81:1    
Isaiah 12:2                              Jeremiah 3:23                           Lam. 3:26
Micah 7:7                                Habakkuk 3:18                         Zechariah 4:6

                This is why Jesus’ claim to forgive sin was so radical to the Jews of His day (cf. also Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-13; Luke 5:18-26).

                And this gives us a tremendous insight into the names that are given to Jesus in the birth narrative of Matthew.  When the person described in Matthew 1:18-25 is given the name “Jesus” by an angel of the Lord, “Because he will save his people from their sins” it can only mean that he is “Immanuel.”  This is precisely what the angel of the Lord makes explicit when he applies Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6 to Jesus.

                Matthew then makes the issue still clearer by providing the translation of the name “Immanuel,” (“God with us”), thus drawing attention to the name as more than a name only, but rather a description of the bearer’s person and purpose.  In short the name Joseph is to call the child born to Mary reveals both who he is (Immanuel = “God with us”) and what he came to do (Jesus = “YHWH will save). 

          We really are “the visited planet.”  He really was and is Immanuel and He really will save you from the consequences of your sin.  This, not toys and trinkets, is what Christmas is all about. Marketers and mass media, greeting cards and department stores tell us an almost endless number of things about Christmas.

                Christmas is about giving.
                Christmas is family.
                Christmas is togetherness.                               
                Christmas is peace and joy.
                Christmas is about children and toys and etc., etc.

                Don’t buy it.  None of those things are bad.  They just aren’t the whole picture. In fact, they leave out the most important person in the picture.

                Christmas is about God loving you and wanting you to be a part of His family, and wanting to give you the greatest gift, and wanting you to be together with Him and wanting to bring peace and joy to your heart not for a season but for eternity.  And this is why the child born in a manger is the “Master Key” to understanding the whole Bible.

And this is the reason that no matter what is going on around us, cancer or healing, heartache or heart full, disappointment or surprises, defeat or victory, it is always Christmas and never winter. Train your heart to never forget this. He is with us always and will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

©1995, 2006, 2011 (revised),  Marty Schoenleber, Jr.


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