Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Linglestown, Pennsylvania, USA
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said
to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that
has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went
with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this
child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. the
shepherds returned, glorifying and praising god for all they had heard
and seen, as it had been told them.
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
St. Luke 2.15-21
By the time of the birth of Jesus, the name of the LORD, while still
a powerful force in the life of the people, had lost its sense of compassionate
tenderness. In the midst of an outbuilding, in the company of simple animals
and slow-witted humans, the patient explanation begins again.
The shepherds are of simple means and childlike minds, led by the voice of angels to see the child long before the wise ever appear on the scene. What they find is only a baby, a child whom the angels name Jesus, or more accurately, Yeshua -- Joshua in Hebrew -- a word meaning, "The Lord is salvation." It is as though God, standing beside them, begins again the explanation of who God is: a God as compassionate and gracious as the child who receives all without distinction, as long-suffering as the child who spends hours at a simple task without boredom, as constant and true as the child whose affections are fiercely loyal even against reason, as forgiving as the child whose memory swiftly erases hurts far greater than the petty indignities begrudged by adults.
This is an excellent way to begin a new year, to ponder the name of God and learn again what it means; to begin anew, tablets fresh and clean, in the company and in the name of God.
from Brightest and Best
by Sam Portaro
Eternal Father, you gave your Son the name
of Jesus to be a sign of our salvation. Plant in every heart the love
of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN
-- Pastor Stickley