I’m so pleased to share with you another guest post by my friend Veronica Gerber. I know you’ll be blessed by her wisdom!
What’s in a name?
So it’s Christmas time again … when we remember Jesus’ birth:
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Do you have a favourite way of addressing God or thinking of Jesus?
I’m quite partial to Emmanuel which means “God with us” … ever alongside those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. It’s all too easy to lose sight, so to speak, of Jesus being with us in the day-to-day, especially during the hustle and bustle of Christmas, wouldn’t you say?
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
C.S. Lewis has written about God’s plan, “The whole thing narrows and narrows, until at last it comes down to a little point, small as the point of a spear—a Jewish girl at her prayers.”
Today as I read the accounts of Jesus’ birth I tremble to think of the fate of the world resting on the responses of two rural teenagers long ago. How many times did Mary review the angel’s words? How many times did Joseph second-guess his own encounter with an angel—“Was it just a dream?”—as he endured the hot shame of living among villagers who could plainly see the changing shape of his fiancée?
Mary, the virgin, whose parenthood was unplanned, had a commendable response to the angel. She heard the angel out, pondered the repercussions, and nonetheless replied:
“I am the Lord’s servant.
May it be to me as you have said.”
Often a work of God comes with two edges, great joy and great pain … as is the joy and travail of giving birth. In Mary’s matter-of-fact response, she embraced both. She was the first person to accept Jesus on his own terms, regardless of the personal cost. An ordinary beginning, an extraordinary journey.
It makes me wonder what work of God hinges on me at my prayers? And on you and your prayers?