Today, people will wake up to a new year. Many will gather with friends and family. Several will be watching long awaited college football games. Others will simply relax for one more day before it is back to work, or school, or maybe both! However, those of us counting our days by Christ encounter the beautiful name of Jesus today with great joy.
The eighth day of Christmas celebrates the holy name of Jesus. This is a most beautiful name. It may come as a surprise to us that Jesus was a very common name in Jesus' time. Young boys, named Jesus, would have been known in many families of the day. Yet, for those of us who call the son of Mary and Joseph, both Messiah and Lord, our hearts and minds are comforted to know this name. Even more, we are comforted to know the One who carries that name.
The apostle Paul understood the power of this name, Jesus. He believed the name brought with it the power and presence of God. So, he encouraged the church in Philippi "to have the same mind in you that was in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). This Jesus had every right to claim equality with God, but set it aside and emptied himself by becoming a slave. Being born in human likeness he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of a cross.
Paul tells us that this amazing event will require every knee to bend to the name of Jesus. Every name in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bend to this name. No other name carries that kind of power. No ruler, military officer, teacher or guru can match this name. No occupation or status can rival this name. Christians throughout time have called on that name, prayed with that name, sang of that name. It brings comfort, healing, deliverance, hope, encouragement and power.
As you mark a new calendar year, mark it with the name that is above every name. Give yourself to the One who bears that name. And as you go into this near year give all of your being to Jesus. He loves you beyond measure. He comes to you now. Let all who have ears, listen.
From Heav'n above to earth I come To bring good news to every one! Glad tidings of great joy I bring To all the world, and gladly sing:
This is the Christ, God's son most high, Who hears your sad and bitter cry; He will himself your Savior be And from all sin will set you free.
Welcome to earth, O noble Guest, Through whom this sinful world is blest! You turned not from our needs away! How can our thanks such love repay?
O dearest Jesus, holy child, Prepare a bed, soft, undefiled, A holy shrine, within my heart, That you and I need never part.
My hear for very joy now leaps; My voice no longer silence keeps; I too must join the angel-throng To sing with joy his cradle-song:
"Glory to God in highest heav'n, Who unto us The Son has given." With angels sing in pious mirth: A glad new year to all the earth!--Martin Luther