“…and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). This name turned the world up-side down. By this name, the world reckons time. In this name, millions celebrate a season of joy. Above all, in this name are uniqueness and power: “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Therefore, this name must not be used lightly, as is often true this time of the year; neither is it be used vulgarly, as is often true the rest of the year.
In the Biblical world names were very important. A person’s name not only distinguished him, but signified his identity, true nature—who he was. Often it expressed a relationship existing between him and others; this was especially true between God and his people (Isaiah 43:6-7). It was a serious offense to use God’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). It still is, and we do so if we use it, or his Son’s name, indifferently or indecently.
His birth was the watershed of history inspiring this season of joy, his life the model of perfection embodying the love of God, and his death the means of eternal life for those calling on his name. It is a name like no other: “‘…and his name shall be called Emmanuel’ (which means God with us)” (Matthew 1:23).