Daily Devotion 04 November 2020
Matthew 1:20-23 ‘God with Us’
20 An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ 22 All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’ which means, ‘God is with us.’
When I was young and we had a visiting minister staying with us, as the eldest of four it always fell to my lot to take him his morning cup of tea. (In those days it was always a ‘him’.) My mother gave me strict instructions to knock on the door and wait to be invited in, then to say, “Hi, man”, and leave the tea with him. It seemed a very strange greeting to me, and I never used it. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered what I had been supposed to say was, “I’m Ann”.
Our names are most important to us. If you’ve worked with little children you’ll know that they always expect you to greet them by name. Indeed they are very surprised, and often quite put out, if they find that you don’t know their name. Through Isaiah, the people of Israel are told by God, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1) and we can be assured that God knows each of us by name, which is a wonderful thought.
Jesus is given many names; I must admit I haven’t counted them myself, but there are apparently 365 different names given to our Saviour and Lord in the Bible. In one well-known verse alone there are five names mentioned “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). We know him most often as Jesus, which is the name that Joseph was told to call him by in the passage above. It means, most beautifully, ‘God saves’.
Another most lovely name of Jesus is Emmanuel, “God is with us”. That too is in the passage above. And most tellingly, it is the name which we chose for our church. ‘Emmanuel’. We can truly say that God has been with us every step of the way in forming our new church together. He is with us now and will remain with us as we build our new church centre in the immediate future. And God will be at the side of all those that succeed us in generations to come.
We give you thanks, O God for your many blessings to us. Today especially we thank you that you know each one of us by name and that you sent your Son to save us from our sins. We thank you for coming as Emmanuel, God with us, your power protecting us, your love surrounding us, giving us an intimate relationship with you, available to us, through Jesus.
We rejoice every day for the honour and privilege of being your beloved children. May each one of us experience your presence as a reality in our lives. You are near to us at all times, God with us, our Emmanuel. We thank you with all our hearts. Amen.
Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Ann Caffyn.
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