From the unique birth came the unique baby. The baby is unique with reference to the three names he was given. In Bible times it was the meaning of names that was highly significant. A child was given a name that showed its importance, or what parents hoped for the future of the child. The three names given to this unique baby show us what is at the heart of the real Christianity and Christmas. Let us briefly look and meditate on the three names.

First, he is called Immanuel which is Hebrew for ‘God is with us.’  He is both human and also God. Through his virgin conception, the human and the divine came together in a unique way. Physically, he was the son of Mary; legally he was the son of Joseph, but at the most fundamental level he was also the Son of God, God with us, Immauel. This is a title for the unique baby and is expressed in many of the carols we sing. Among the implications of God the Son coming into the world is that we matter to God; ‘we are very much on God’s radar screen.’ The next point lead us to the second name. Why did God bother? What was the purpose of the trip?

The answer to the question lies in another name given to the unique baby – Jesus. The name Jesus means ‘God saves.’ Immanuel came from heaven to save, he came on a rescue mission. He came to rescue us ‘from our sins.’ Our sins are the wrong things we do, and the good things we fail to do. Sins are not just breaking the law of the land but breaking the law of God. Our sins are the symptoms of a bigger disease that infects us all. We are happy to take the wonderful gifts God gives us: Our life, friendships, our health, talents and abilities. The problem is that we want to run our lives our own way. We all need rescuing from judgement because sin cut us off from God – now, and for all eternity. Christmas is about the good news for each and every one of us – the birth of the rescuer sent from God; sent to die so that we can be forgiven by God and know him for ever. The rescuer came to save as many that would believe in him (Jn.3:16). The unique baby is Immanuel, God with us. He is Jesus, the rescuer. And lastly, he is the Christ, the same word in Hebrew Messiah – both mean ‘the Anointed One,’ the King that God has chosen to rule over His people. Christmas is therefore an annual reminder that Immanuel, God with us is coming again physically as the King of kings and Lord of lords.