If Christmas is about anything, it certainly isn’t glamour and glitz. It’s about Christ coming for lowly sinners as a lowly, sinless babe. The child laid humbly in a cattle trough personifies salvation, embodies God’s presence, and his name will be exalted above all other names. The name of Christmas is Jesus.
Call His Name Jesus
An Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to call the child Jesus because He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Paul reminds us that Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Aside from all the beautiful and meaningful traditions of Christmas, the crawling babe growing to carry his cross and die in our place is the simple and glorious focus of Christmas. This is why he’s called Jesus.
Call His Name Immanuel
Matthew reminds us that Jesus’ birth took place to fulfill the prophet Isaiah’s words: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Matthew 1:22, Isaiah 7:14). While Immanuel simply means “God with us,” being in God’s presence is no simple matter. It requires flawless righteousness, which only God’s sinless Son could provide on our behalf. The name Immanuel reflects the incarnation but it also reminds us that because of Christ’s atoning work we have access to God (Ephesians 3:12).
A Name Above All Names
Despite his equality with God, Jesus emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and was obedient even to the point of death. Therefore, God exalted him and bestowed upon him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:6-10). The humility of the eternal creator (John 1, Hebrews 1, Colossians 1) choosing to become human should stir worship within us. Celebrating the incarnation and its part in redemption is not merely seasonal, but the rhythm of remembrance is helpful. The name of Christmas is the name above all names.
Christmas is more than a holiday, gathering, or even giving. It is God’s Son becoming a man to live a sinless life and die a sinner’s death so that we could enter God’s presence and forever exalt the name of Christmas: Jesus.
Photo: Gerard van Honthorst: Adoration of the Shepherds (circa 1622)
Calvinist Picard is a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies graduate and currently about halfway through a Ph.D. in Leadership program. He has worked in education and ministry in various roles for just a little over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @CalvinistPicard and on Facebook at CalvinistPicard.