Merry Christmas from Genesis Church. As you spend today celebrating we wanted to provide a family worship devotion for you and your family. The content for the devotion comes from our Genesis Church Advent Devotional. We have also included two songs for you to sing together at the bottom.
Text: Matthew 1:18-25
It’s finally here! Christmas morning. Have you opened your presents yet? What did you get? In some ways the “Christmas season” begins before Halloween, as the stores were already putting out Christmas stuff and sometimes playing Christmas music. The Advent season began right after Thanksgiving, giving us four weeks of worshipful meditation preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. For the Hebrews, their wait for Jesus’ coming involved hundreds of years of focusing on the promises of God without seeing the reality. They had a long history of waiting in hope for the first Christmas day. Mary and Joseph had been waiting 9 months for the birth of the beautiful infant. But in Christmas, the time of waiting has turned into the time of fulfillment.
The birth of a baby did bring an important task for the parents, the giving of the baby’s name. With each of our children, Heidi and I went through a process determining the name, knowing full well that the name given would be so tied to their identity for all of life. What is often painstaking for some parents was decided by God for Joseph and Mary. The name of their baby was given by the Angel, who told Joseph that they would call Him Jesus. Moreover, this text gives us three key names or titles (nicknames) for Jesus that help us understand His identity and purpose. For our final devotion in the Genesis Advent book I want you to take a few minutes looking at these names in this text and meditating on the meaning of each of these for you.
Jesus – Our Christmas story from Matthew begins with the phrase, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.” The angel told Joseph that the baby’s name is Jesus, “For he will save His people from their sins.” (v.22) The name Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Yeshua (or Joshua). It’s meaning is that Yahweh saves. This is central theme for the storyline for the whole Bible, that salvation belongs to the Lord (Psalm 3:8, Jonah 2:9). The name given to Jesus by the angel through His parents was an announcement, that our God Saves and that this baby is the glorious way God will save His people from their sins.
Christ – No, Christ is not Jesus’ last name. He is not Jesus Christ born to Joseph and Mary Christ. Christ again is a Greek word which translates a Hebrew word, the word Messiah. The Old Testament prophets promised a great King who would be from the family of David who would usher in the Kingdom of God, ruling His people in justice and righteousness. Calling Jesus the Christ is the same as saying Jesus is the Messiah, which means that He is the One promised on page after page of the Old Testament and brings fulfillment to God’s promises and plans.
Immanuel – Matthew is quoting Isaiah 7:14, the promise that God’s salvation sent in a single person who would be the Messiah would come through a specific sign, a virgin who has a baby. This baby would also be called “Immanuel” which we are told means, “God with us.” This title answers our ultimate need. Our sin has separated us from God, and because we are sinful this is a problem we cannot solve. Yet God came Himself. Jesus is so much more than a cute baby, He is God who came to be present with us, involved in our lives and loving us even in our sin.
This is the identity of the baby we have been waiting for since Thanksgiving, and the purpose of the man who grew up and lived the life I should have lived. He then died the death I should have died. Yet the grave could not hold Him, three days later Jesus rose again, defeating death, hell, and the grave forever. He now reigns forever more. He is Jesus the Christ, Immanuel, our Lord!
*Explain to your kids how you chose their name. Ask them how their name shapes their view of self and identity.
*Why would the Bible tell us things like there is hope in the name of Jesus, or power in the name of Jesus. What does the name of Jesus tell us about him.
Give different members of your family the names, Jesus, Christ, Lord, Immanuel. As each person to give thanks for this name and the meaning of Jesus’ identity and mission for us.
O Come All Ye Faithful
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen