When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2.15-21
Bearers of the Name
By Katelyn Shelton
In the Bible, a name is a prophecy – not a mere label that points to a particular person, but a foretelling of who a person is at his or her core. A name is a containing – not simply a descriptor, but a fulfillment of the essence of the entirety of a person him or herself.
Customary among Jews was the practice of naming their male children on the day they were circumcised. The circumcision and the naming occurred not just on any day, but on the eighth day – the second first day of the week, the symbol of a new beginning.
Oftentimes, the way God chooses to reveal himself to his people is by teaching them his name. Moses cries out in the desert, “What shall I call you?” God answers: “I AM.”
Before he was conceived, the angel came to Mary with a specific name: Jesus, “God saves.” Jesus reveals to us just who the I AM is: the God who condescends to his creation to rescue it. Salvation is not a thing that God does; it is who God is, manifested in the person of Jesus Christ.
On the first day God created. On the seventh day God rested. On the eighth day, God saves: Jesus represents the new first day of all creation.
If we abide in him, we, like Jesus, will receive our names, written by God on white stones before we were ever conceived (Revelation 2:17). These names encapsulate exactly who God created us to be—like Mary, bearers of the one whose name is above every name: Jesus, the God Who Saves.
A Collect for the Holy Name
Almighty God, your blessed Son fulfilled the covenant of circumcision for our sake, and was given the Name that is above every name: Give us grace faithfully to bear his Name, and to worship him with pure hearts according to the New Covenant; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.