haShem

In a few days, billions of people around the world will celebrate the holiday—the “holy day”—we call Christmas. There are as many different ways to remember the day as there are people taking part, but regardless of the expressions, it is a time of celebration and reflection.

For Joseph and Mary, holding the newborn Savior, it was a time of celebration as well, tempered by fatigue, and probably relief that the birth had been successful. Upon the arrival of shepherds, they discovered that heaven had also burst forth in celebration. The angelic messages they had received were beginning to be fulfilled.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great I AM.
(“Mary, Did You Know?”)

How much did Joseph and Mary really understand about the blessed event? How could they know the all-encompassing glory this birth represented? How could they perceive just how powerful was the redemption born to earth this night, and how great would be the cost to purchase salvation?

How could they begin to imagine how great was this Baby born in such humble surroundings?

In Exodus chapter three, we read that God spoke to Moses from a burning bush and commissioned him to stand before Pharaoh, demanding Israel’s freedom from Egyptian bondage. Moses asked for God’s Name, so that he might be able to tell the people who had sent him.  God simply replied “ehyeh-asher-ehyeh”  (YHVH, usually rendered “I AM THAT I AM”). He is the original, uncreated Being, the Source of all existence. All that exists is contingent upon His existence, and He is existent within Himself. He depends on nothing and no one except Himself.

In our western culture, we primarily use names as identifiers or labels. But names in Hebrew language describe dynamic function. They tell who someone is and what he is doing—inviting us into relationship.

The Name YHVH shows us that He is absolutely transcendent above everything in creation, both seen and unseen. Yet in revealing His Name, the Jewish sages tell us He is extending mercy to His creation.

The Bible tells us Mary pondered many things in her heart about her Son—with good reason. So much mystery, so much glory, so much promise surrounded this Child from the beginning. He was born into poverty and difficulty yet He grew and released the riches of God and proclaimed freedom from bondage to all people. He grew to be a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, yet He drew the outcast and downcast and gave them joy and hope. He died an agonizing and shameful death yet He rose again and now rules with all power and authority as Lord of lords and King of kings. He is Yeshua—salvation from sin.

This great and eternal God, existing from unending infinity past, extending into infinity upon infinities of endless future, became flesh, available to be touched and held in the present moment. He is available to us still.

Daily life has a way of pressing us with urgent and frantic demands. The Christmas season seems to escalate the frenetic activity, as we pile more and more events and responsibilities on ourselves. But in the midst of it all, we are invited to remain rooted and grounded in love, remembering that our Savior is closer to us than even our very breath.

The Great I AM speaks to the deep places within us this Christmas. He reminds us of His love and His all-sufficiency for everything we need. He is the ever-present Answer to our deepest heart desires.

In His Name, we celebrate the season! Merry Christmas.

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