Let us pray: Dear Savior, just as our names identify us and are therefore important to us, Your Name does even more! For it reveals exactly Who You are and what You came into this world to do—save sinners like us! You always lived up to all Your Names. You always fulfilled their noble expectations. So, today, we ask that You empower us to live up to our new name which is: Christian. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE PRINCE OF PEACE
TEXT: Isaiah 9: 6: “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.”
Fellow Redeemed Children of the Heavenly Father:
In my tenure as your Pastor, I’ve baptized 59 infants. In most cases, I first met each of those infants shortly after they were born—visiting your families either in the hospital or at home. Each child was different and unique. But one thing about all those visits was the same.—That is, mom was tired but happy, and dad had suddenly turned into a big emotional mush ball! I saw this etched on your faces and heard it echoed in your voices as we talked. New born babies will do that, won’t they? For a child holds the promise of laughter, joy, and a blessed future. Their lives are unwritten as of that moment, and we thus infuse our hopes and superimpose our dreams upon them.
Invariably our conversation eventually turned to their new name. In most cases, you had picked out their name in advance. And you picked it for a reason. Either it sounded beautiful, or reminded you of a loved one, or you hoped they would emulate the person from history you had named them after. The subsequent years reveal whether or not this is the case, don’t they?
Today, in this lesson from Isaiah, God promises the whole human race, us, a very special Child. And today we begin our celebration to honor His birthday. The similarities between this Baby and our babies are many, but so are the differences. Just like our babies He had a regular human body. He cried. He got hungry. He slept. He felt cold and pain. And 33 years later He would die. Just like our babies, He grew in wisdom and stature. But there the similarities end. For this Baby was different. He was extra, extra special. He was and is the Eternal Son of God!
His name reflects His specialness, too. God told Mary and Joseph to name Him: Jesus. Which, in the Hebrew language, means: God saves! Yes, in Him God saves our souls. A Baby saved humanity! That’s humbling. And it’s true because our lesson reveals the rest of the story in the names God gave Him 700 years before He was born. “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Christ has other names in the Bible, too, but those pretty much summarize the profundity of His birth, don’t they? Each is a title. Each encapsulates exactly Who He really is and why He was born. He is a Wonderful Counselor Who always lends a kind ear to His siblings, to us. He is Mighty God, Who always controls everything for our eternal good. He is Everlasting Father because as Jesus says: “I and the Father am One.” And He is also the Prince of Peace because He came to bring eternal, internal peace to hurting souls like us. Yes, this Prince won that peace for us by His perfect life lived in our place and His innocent death, to pay for our guilt before God. Everything we need to know about this Baby is wrapped up in these Names.
Jesus lived up to His many names. Do we? Do you live up to your new name: Christian? Are you willing to put your pride in your pocket, admit you need a Baby’s help to get through life, and then “become like a little child” in trusting a Baby to save you and make your life meaningful? Your children say: yes! All the words they are sharing with you today say: yes! Just do it! Don’t be afraid!
What Child Is This? What Baby has such power? What Baby has such love to share? What Child gives more than He could ever receive? Our children, our babies may give us a small slice of such blessings and gifts. Thank God for that! But only the Christ-Child gives such blessings to all without measure! What Child Is This? The One Whose well of love never, ever, ever runs dry! Rejoice in His names! Amen