The season that begins from the Sunday closest to Nov. 27 to the eve of Christmas Day is called Advent in the Christian community. That season, observed for hundreds of years, marks a time of special celebration of the coming of the Savior of the world. It’s a time of expectation, anticipation and jubilation. We know that there is a name attached to the person celebrated and that name is Jesus.
We also know that names are special. Some names have become household words, like Kleenex, Frigidaire and Xerox. During this season people look to name brands for appliances, like Maytag, Whirlpool, Hotpoint and LG. For cameras, some people prefer Nikon or Canon. For department stores, many prefer to shop at Macy’s or Saks, just because of what the names imply.
Yes, names carry implications. You know when we see someone with a cheap watch we normally refer to it, even if we don’t know the name, as a Timex. To cover wounds, we advise our family and friends to use a Band-Aid. And the only dictionary that matters to some is Webster’s, even though there are several other wonderful dictionaries.
Names also identify people and there are several people who have become so popular that just the mention of their first or last names evokes emotion, names like Oprah, Obama, Wade and Beyonce, or Castro or Bush. These names may, however, fade with time.
But there is a name that has lasted for nearly 2,000 years that seems to be gaining momentum as time goes forward. That name is Jesus. His name declares his person. The name Jesus means “Jehovah is Salvation.” Jesus had a common name but He was no ordinary child. His birth was normal but His conception was anything but normal. Jesus was a real human baby but He was also God in the flesh. His name declared His poverty. He came not as a king but as a humble servant. He was born not in a palace but in a manger.
Jesus understood poverty, weariness, hunger, rejection and loneliness. He endured all that He did so that He might identify Himself with us, understand us and be able to comfort us in our trials. His name declares His power: “His name shall be called… Jesus!” Note the word “name” is singular and not plural. Not His “names”; His “name.”
Jesus displays all the following characteristics at the same time. He Is The Supernatural One! He is the Miracle Man! People cannot always comprehend Him but He can be believed in by the smallest child. He is wonderful! He Is The Supervising One! He advises, counsels, devises and plans. He directs our lives and leads us in paths of righteousness. Then, finally, He is the Satisfying One. He brings peace, a state of happiness, well-being and prosperity. He is the Creator and the Sustainer of our peace. He accomplished peace with God when He died on the cross. He extends His peace to all who receive Him by faith. He provides His peace to all who trust Him in the valleys of life. He is the Keeper of our peace and the guarantor of continued peace throughout eternity.
What’s in a name? If that name is Walter, not very much. But, if the name is Jesus, everything is in that name. His name is the source of our salvation. His name is the hope of our hearts. His name can break sin’s bondage and cool the fevered brow. His name can lift the greatest burdens. His name can comfort the broken heart.
His name is a name worth knowing because it speaks of a Savior worth loving. His name is everything. His name unlocks the door of Heaven and closes the gates of Hell. His name saves the vilest sinner, redeems the lost soul and secures the precious saints. His name is Jesus and, in that name, He is everything we need.
I almost forgot: That’s why this season is called Christmas.
Dr. Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade. He is also the current chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net. Website: WTRMinistries.com