My congregation is singing portions of the hymn “O come, O come, Emmanuel” each Sunday during the Advent season as we light the candles on the Advent wreath. The hymn’s 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.
On Dec. 2, I was invited to give the opening prayer at a Habitat event in Victoria. There were hundreds of people present, many of whom I didn’t know by name. A pastor from one of the Methodist congregations in Victoria, who also had a part in the program, was wearing a nametag from his church. It identified him both by name and his congregation. I thought this was a very good idea and made a note to look into this for myself.
It’s important to know someone’s name, whether in social or business settings. 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.
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 say, “Child of God.” We are named and claimed by God.
John Dellis is the minister of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ander.