Please don’t let the holidays get so cluttered that you
miss the point of the celebration.
Christmas is usually cluttered. We’re overbooked with
parties, concerts, football games and shopping trips while our houses are
jammed with decorations, out-of-town guests and way too much food. Then on
Christmas morning, after the presents have been opened, we sweep up the
crumpled giftwrap, tinsel, ribbons, bows, pine needles and boxes that are
scattered everywhere. As much as I love the joy of this season (eggnog is my
weakness), I struggle to make sure I don’t lose the profound simplicity of
Christmas amid the sensory overload.
This year I decided to pay closer attention to the names
of Jesus used in the Christmas story. These names are like wrapped gifts—you
have to open them carefully to savor their meaning. You might want to share
these names with your loved ones at your Christmas dinner, or take a break from
the stress of the holidays to look up these Scriptures and ponder them
carefully. Remember: Jesus is God’s present to us. Have you fully unwrapped
this amazing gift?
“You might want to share these names with
your loved ones at your Christmas dinner, or take a break from the stress of
the holidays to look up these Scriptures and ponder them carefully.”
1. He is the Son of
David (Matt. 1:1). Matthew’s gospel, which was
written primarily to Jews, stresses that Jesus was in the royal lineage of
Israel’s kings. The genealogy that appears in Matthew 1 traces Joseph, the
husband of the Virgin Mary, to David’s line—and then back to Abraham. Even
though Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph, He could legally claim the
family name. He was King of the Jews in the truest sense; yet unlike the sinful
kings of Israel, Jesus was the perfect ruler—and His kingdom will never end.
2. He is the Son of Adam (Luke
3:38). Luke’s gospel, written to a Gentile audience, focuses on Jesus’
humanity. And the genealogy that appears in Luke 3:23-38 is not about kingly
succession. Instead, it traces Jesus’ lineage through Mary’s family tree and
goes all the way to Adam—establishing the case that Jesus was a descendent of
the first man. Through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, God’s eternal
Word impregnated Mary, making her child both God and man. Yet Jesus, unlike
Adam, never disobeyed God. He remained sinless so He could sacrifice His life
3. He is Emmanuel (Matt. 1:23).
An angel told Joseph in a dream that Mary would conceive a son
miraculously—and that His name would be Emmanuel, which means, “God with us.”
Wrapped up in this name is the mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus is, as John’s
gospel emphasizes, the Word that “became flesh” (John 1:14).
He was with God before the creation of the world as the glorious firstborn Son,
but He left the glory of heaven to dwell among sinners on earth.
4. He is Jesus, the Savior (Matt.
1:21). The angel told Mary she would give birth to the “holy child” and
that she would call him Jesus, which is the Greek form of the name Joshua (or Yeshua
in Hebrew). Jesus means “the Lord saves.” Just as Joshua in the Old Testament
succeeded Moses and took God’s people across the Jordan into the Promised Land,
Jesus led us out of the wilderness of sin and ushered us “by grace” and
“through faith” (Eph. 2:8) into the blessings of salvation.
5. He is the Prince of Peace (Isa.
9:6). Angels said to the shepherds in Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14).
This harkens back to Isaiah’s ancient prophecy that the Messiah would institute
peace on earth. The gift of Christ was, in fact, the greatest peace treaty ever
enacted. Wherever the true gospel of Christ is preached and believed, hatred is
uprooted in human hearts and wars and violence cease.
6. He is the Light of the Gentiles (Luke
2:32). Simeon, the old prophet who met Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus
outside the temple in Jerusalem, recognized that the long-awaited Son of God was
not sent just to Israel but to all people. Jesus’ mission was a global one.
This was also confirmed by the visit of the mysterious magi—wise men from a
Gentile country who bowed before the Christ child and honored him as a true
king. They knew that some day this King would be worshipped everywhere.
7. He is the Messiah, Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). This is how the angel described Jesus when
he spoke to the shepherds in Bethlehem. The word “Christ” means “the anointed
one”; the Hebrew word is Ha-Mashiach, or Messiah. It speaks of
the Deliverer God promised to send to earth. Abraham saw Him from a distance;
King David sang and prophesied of Him; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel,
Micah, Haggai, Malachi and many other prophets foretold His coming. He was not
only anointed by the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and raise the dead during His
short time on earth; He was anointed to die on the Cross for our sins and to be
raised from the dead so that we could live with Him forever.
Many people today—even many professing Christians—have
never unwrapped the full meaning of the Savior. Some doubt His power to forgive
them. Some struggle to believe He is the only path to God. Others don’t
experience inward peace because they have never fully submitted to His lordship.
Please unwrap this gift. Don’t let the holidays get so cluttered that you miss
J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He invites you to pass this
message along to a friend or family member who might need to know the real
meaning of Christmas.