3. Humility and cost!
But after Joseph had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:20-25
I know many people who were given a name at birth but who, for one reason or another, never use the name in later life. The result of this is that many people never find out what their original name was. My Grandfather’s name was Isaac but everybody called him Mick. My wife’s grandmother’s name was Violet but everybody called her Betty.
The name ‘Jesus’ that was given to Mary’s child was used throughout his life. But there was another name that the child was given that is seldom used as a name:
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
The name that people would call the child born of the virgin was ‘Immanuel’ because this too describes the most remarkable and mind-blowing truth. In order for God to save us He had to come to be with us! As John records in his gospel:
‘The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us’ John 1:14
It is so hard for our minds to fathom the enormity of this truth!
What we celebrate at Christmas time is an act of complete selfless humility that is demonstrated by the creator of the universe. His mission was so important to Him that he was prepared to become a creature and lay down His life.
Paul, in his letter to the Philippians expands on this remarkable truth and, this Christmas, as you thank God for what He has done, can I encourage you to reflect on the words that Paul wrote, copied below, as you spend time with the Lord and ask how you can join Him in His Mission:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8
Saving us from our sin cost Jesus His life! What are you prepared to lay down that will enable you to join Jesus in His Mission?