A favorite hymn during the Advent season is “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” which has its origins in the eighth century. The verses highlight different names for the Messiah from the Old Testament, such as Wisdom, Adonai, Branch of Jesse, Key of David, Dayspring, and King of the nations. When we attend a gathering where everyone may not know everyone’s names, we’re sometimes invited to wear name tags stating “My name is…” We fill in the blank accordingly.
It’s important to know someone’s name. Names are very meaningful, both in Scripture and in our lives. In the text from Isaiah, the child shall be called Immanuel, or “God with us.”
This Advent season, the Scripture texts remind us and proclaim to us that through Jesus, God is with us and for us. In Jesus, God has taken humanity into himself and is present with us in a totally new way.
We humans sometimes like to put our trust in ourselves instead of God. It’s easy to become fascinated with what we do or don’t do, what we believe or don’t believe: If I do this or don’t do that, if I think or don’t think in a certain way, then God will love me.
The gift of the Advent and Christmas season is the reminder that God comes to us, loving us, looking for us, chasing after us sometimes, in order to love and redeem us.
Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, we are offered the gift of life and salvation. Because of God’s love and grace poured out for us, our name tag can read, “Child of God.” We are named and claimed by God.
John Dellis is the minister of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ander.