Posted in Advent devotions

The Cast of Advent: December 16 – Jesus

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

In a dream the angel spoke to Joseph about both Mary and her son. “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

It’s hard to know which devotional slot to give Jesus since the whole story is about him. This seems like a good moment, since this is the first time his name is mentioned.

The name Jesus means “Savior.” It is the same as the Old Testament name Joshua which is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “to deliver or rescue.” It is a name which describes exactly what he will do: “save his people from their sins.”

Many names originated with occupations. “Smith” was the blacksmith who worked iron. “Cooper” made the barrels. “Carpenter” worked with wood. You call the people in your community with a word that described their work: Baker, Brewer, Potter, Fisher, Weaver, and Judge would be just a few good examples.

But how in the world can you save someone from their sins? How can you make it so that a person doesn’t have to suffer the consequences for their actions? I suppose you could suffer those consequences for them, sparing them from that experience. Which is exactly what Jesus does for each and every sin of every person.

For much of his life, I’m sure no one had a clue how Jesus would save his people from their sins. It wasn’t until much later, after the resurrection, that Jesus could give them that understanding. Until then, they would just have to take his name and his occupation by faith.

Thank you, Lord, for saving me from my sins. Amen.

Posted in Life

Name after name

My Bible read through brought me to First Chronicles this morning. You need to check it out. It's like reading an Old Testament phone book. Name after name after name, a carefully recorded list of tribes, families and descendants. It was like sitting down to read the church directory. So my devotional time in God's Word this morning, “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” was an OT Who's Who. I am thankful this is not the text for the sermon this week. Although, it would be entertaining to listen to the lay reader tackle this passage!


On the other hand, sometimes I pull out an old church directory and look through it, remembering people and families from the past. Or I'll come across a box of old pictures and relive some events from the past. Perhaps these chapters from Chronicles were how they used to do this, before photos and social media timelines.

This is also the time of year I look back and see which saints we'll remember next Sunday, as we observe All Saints and remember the faithful who have gone on to glory ahead of us. Everyone on my list this year was close — Veta, Lillian, Stew and Ron. Each one is a reminder of the difference we can make just by being good and faithful servants.