“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”

Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

When a family is preparing for the arrival of a new baby, there is much discussion about what the child’s name will be. Out come the baby name books, and everyone has a suggestion. Will it be a boy, or a girl? Will the name be chosen for its meaning? For a time-honored tradition? Will a member of the family, or a treasured friend be commemorated?

As all of heaven prepared for the birth of Jesus, what names did the heavenly hosts think of for God the Son, Messiah?

The first part of this devotional pairs Hannah’s Prayer with Zechariah’s Prophecy, and the names of the Son of God that come out of their prayers.

Hannah’s prayer

Hannah was the mother of the prophet Samuel, who was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first prophet to anoint the king of Israel. It was Samuel who anointed King David by recognizing in the young shepherd boy that God does not judge by what the world sees, or by the world’s standards, but rather God looks in the heart. The heart and soul are what matter to God for eternity.

Zechariah and Elizabeth | By James Tissot
Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008, 00.159.12_PS2.jpg, Public Domain

Zechariah’s prophecy

Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist, who was the last of the Hebrew Prophets, and the Hebrew prophet who heralded and baptized Messiah Jesus, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. John the Baptist was able to identify in the unassuming carpenter and stone mason by God’s direct revelation in the form of a dove resting above Jesus’s head. Israel was looking for a royal king but God intended to save the world for eternity

The second part of this devotional pairs Mary’s Song with Jesus’s Beatitudes, and the names of God the Son which arise.

Mary’s Song

Mary was the birth mother of Jesus, the first to experience the extraordinary reality of God’s very life growing within her. As any mother might do, Mary surely sang lullabies to her baby, and taught Him the scriptures and stories of His people as He grew. Surely it was Mary who heard her Son’s first word, and rejoiced over His first step. It is no wonder she “pondered these things in her heart.”

14th century wall painting of Mary and Elizabeth before John the Baptist or Jesus Messiah were born | By Unknown artistPublic Domain

Messiah Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount,

As His ministry grew, Jesus’s teaching became famous, and His Beatitudes continue to engage us thousands of years later with the wonder of the Lord’s wisdom.

As you and I meditate on these words, let us think about the names all heaven and earth gave to this tiny, vulnerable baby, Who is God the Son. From eternity into our world and then returned to the glory from whence He came, Jesus now opens the way for you and me to be with him in glory forever.

Christ Jesus,

who, though he existed in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be grasped,
but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    assuming human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human,
   he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

Therefore God exalted him even more highly
    and gave him the name
    that is above every other name,
so that at the name given to Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Apostle Paul, Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus, Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

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