Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7 (NRSV)
I have sisters-in-law who are elementary school teachers. With the start of each new school year, our family is entertained by the unusual or ridiculous names of children in their classrooms. A familiar name gets an update with a unique spelling, or a child is saddled with a long title, or, as the present trend seems to be, children are named for an object. Listed under celebrity baby names, I found Apple, Banjo, Ocean and Moon Unit.
I was named after a woman in the Bible, and my name means “companion; friend.” I like to think that I’ve become someone who resembles the person for whom I was named. An endearing nickname secured my sense of belonging among family and close friends. Names do matter.
In today’s Scripture, Isaiah predicts the birth of a child who will come with great mission and purpose. He will be as a light in the darkness, and a deliverer who causes rejoicing. He will govern, and his kingdom will have no end. A single name for this baby is too confining. He will be called:
The Prince of Peace.
Jesus’ birth fulfilled this prophecy and for those of us who have received adoption into his family, we know how well these names fit him. The times I’m confused or in need of guidance, Jesus counsels me through Scripture or through other believers inspired by his words. God is mighty in creation, and in working things out for good in the messiness of my life. To call Jesus, Father, means we are family, and I belong to him. I even have the privilege of using his nickname, Abba. This Father’s care for me is lasting and forever.
When life is uncertain, when insecurity makes me anxious, when conflict brings turmoil and when worry has seized control of my mind, I run to the Prince of Peace to find refuge and help. In this place of rest, those who struggle to make peace with their given name will find Jesus calling them Loved and Chosen.
There is a glorious King above heaven and earth who came down into our world so we could be familiar with the one whose name is above all names. I am awed and filled with wonder.
Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-7 (NRSV)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined. 3You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.