Christmas

This devotional is written by Josh Anderson. Josh Anderson is a sound engineer who is married to Charlotte and has been BCI-ing around St Mary’s for 7 years now (yes, even before it became mainstream).

Jeremiah  23:4-6

4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the Lord.

5 "The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

Reflection

There is a huge significance attached to names in the Bible - a name informs us of a person's identity. Perhaps the parents' struggle with the birth of a new child. Or a defining characteristic of a person in a parable. Or maybe a relevance to their tribe, family or place of birth.

This passage is all about the days of the arrival of the redeemer of Israel drawing nearer. Through this person will flow all good things, the restoration of justice and safety throughout the land for God's people.

Judah refers to the tribe of people (i.e. God's chosen people) - they are to be given a new name. And as we go through the narrative of the Bible, we also join in the story: God's people is expanded from the Jews to all corners of the earth. So now we are a part of these people. Our name is "The Lord Our Righteous Saviour". What does this mean to you?

Again, the significance of a new name (think Abram/Abraham or Ben-oni/Benjamin) indicates a shift in identity. Perhaps a shift in how we see ourselves? Or a shift in purpose or calling? A new start with a new central focus?

What does it mean to have a new name? How does this affect your day to day life?

This time of year is the celebration of the fulfilment of the good promises made by God to His people. Christmas is the start of God's ultimate redemption plan. What new names has God given to you as he works out his redemption plan in your life?

Take some time to reflect on how God's redeeming power has touched your life. Be filled with thankfulness for what he's done. Ask God to open your eyes to the new names he's giving those around you, and call them out as you see them.

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