If I could turn back the calendar to any time in the past, it would be during those months of anticipating our first born. There was an air of anticipation that was both full of nervousness and excitement. Night after night, my husband and I would plop down on the couch, snuggle up, and talk about our plans!
We’d pull out our tattered notebook filled with page after page of lists. What we need for the baby, what we need for the baby’s room. Themes, colors, things we wanted to get done before the baby was born. Our conversations were dreamy and optimistic. “Dreamy” describes that time perfectly! We had no idea what to expect and we dreamt about the future, all the possibilities, our hopes for our baby and our growing family. We chose not to find out the gender of our baby – which made our anticipation even more exciting. What if it was a boy? Oh, a girl would be fun! We’d take out our notebook and jot down names. Boy names were on the left column, girl names on the right.
I remember those days!
“How about the name Ryan? I love that name!”
“No,” would come the reply. I’d cross out RYAN from my list.
“If it’s a girl, Christina. It’s my favorite girls name! Or Anna, I love Anna.”
“I like Christina” Chris replied.
Oh, the conversations went on and on! The list of names grew and shrunk over the months until the day came. Excitedly we went to the hospital, tattered notebook in tow – we were sure we’d know our baby’s name as soon as we met him or her.
But we didn’t. And our son was born!
And though our notebook had a selection of 10+ boy’s names that we had agreed upon, none seemed “right.” At the top of the list was “Kyle.” Our hesitation laid in the fact that we believed the meaning behind our baby’s name was important. And, Kyle meant, “from the straight.” (You know, the “straight,” like…a “canal”) Hmmmm. The discussions continued. Days passed.
Fortunately, Mary and Joseph didn’t have this problem. They knew from the get-go that their baby would be a boy and what his name would be. No sonogram necessary!
Almost 700 years before baby Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah foretold that the Messiah’s name would be multi-faceted.
You see, names are like labels – they identify and describe the person.
They tell others what we are like.
As young parents we knew that each time we called our son by his name – we would be speaking a “truth” over him. And we wanted it to be a positive, uplifting label.
The names that Isaiah predicted for Mary’s baby were descriptions of who he would be:
Prince of Peace
It turns out that the meaning behind names are important! The fact that it took us three days to come up with a name that had a special meaning was A-ok! We chose Matthew which means a gift of God. We never wanted to forget, or have our son forget, that he was a gift from the Lord God Almighty.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 1, an angel visited Joseph to tell of the Savior’s coming. He elaborated further and told Joseph that he would have a son and should name him Jesus (which means God saves). Matthew goes on to explain the name Isaiah foretold, Immanuel means God with us.
Imagine! For just a moment. The God of the universe, who made every living organism is dwelling with you and is intimately interested in – you.
God. With. Us. God with YOU.
Personally, this is my favorite name for God. Immanuel, God with me! It’s a reminder that my God walks with me, and talks with me. He doesn’t leave me to “do life” alone. He is with me. I don’t know about you, but I need a little help – let’s be honest – a whole lot of help. And to have God Almighty personally involved in my life, and trusting that He is involved in your life – makes all of our lives meaningful.
God with us. His omnipresence validates us and Him. He knows. He cares. He dwells. A God that will never leave us alone. He is deeply in love with you and will not leave you.
He will not leave you. Ever. It’s in His name. It’s who He is.
God with us.
May you sense Immanuel’s presence this Christmas season. Pause for a moment. He is there.
Merry Christmas my friends!!
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