At the birth of a baby there are normally just a few moments of suspense while everyone waits for the baby’s first cry. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, and the parents are told the baby’s sex, the cord is cut, the baby is wrapped up and placed in mother’s arms. Every birth is a miracle – the gift of a new life with all its potential and challenges for both parents and baby.
The baby’s wrist and ankle name bands will always have time of birth, the date, sex and the baby’s surname. These name bands confirm who the baby’s parents are. The most important name that everyone wants to know is the baby’s first name. Even if a baby is abandoned and left for someone to find and take to a place of care, that baby will be given a fitting name by some person who cares about their situation. Very often, the response on hearing a choice of name is something like, ‘That’s a lovely name or a beautiful name.’
God chose his Son’s own name and gave the reason for choosing it, ‘You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21). The birth of Jesus was not a spur of the moment decision; for some 700 years previously the prophet Isaiah wrote, ‘And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).
God’s Son was born in a stable, not in the splendour or comfort of a palace. He was conceived out of wedlock, born into a country under Roman oppression and as a toddler had to flee to Egypt as a refugee. He took up his father’s trade as a carpenter. He wasn’t treated as royalty and initially even his own brothers wouldn’t accept that there was anything different about him. In every way, Jesus identified with everyday human life and yet he was the Son of God Incarnate. As we focus this Christmas on the One who is the ‘Light of the World’ we come to know him as the ‘Beautiful Name’ with all the character that goes into that name. As the Message puts it, as we look at his beauty so ‘our lives gradually become brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him’ (2 Corinthians 3:18).