Roots: Advent

December 5
GENESIS 12:1–3

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
The day you came into this world you had no name that came along with you. You and I were fresh from heaven, fresh from the  hidden place of our nurture, brought into the wide-open world. We were an idea, a masterpiece, in the heart of God. We were born, we looked around, we took it all in (as far as we could see), and our little minds began to process all the information coming our way.
You were a person, with a set of genetics already in motion like billions of tiny gears within your system, processing the beautiful world before you. But you were, as far as human beings are concerned, nameless. The name given to you may have only been spoken before this moment in hushed tones by parents or family members, and perhaps you came into the world with just a few select individuals knowing your name. But the truth is, it’s still the name they chose for you. We can trust in the sovereignty of God that our given names have come to us by some direction of divine care. But there is a name that God has for you and for me, known to
him and to be known fully by us one day.(2)  The process of life is to discover God’s name for you, for me, and for that identity to emerge more and more beautifully until the day we see him face-to-face!
Abram had a name. Then, at a key point in his journey, God changed it. He went from “exalted father” to “father of a multitude.” Abram could embrace being an exalted father. He had some
evidence that he was a highly honored father in his life. But “father of a multitude”? That took some faith to swallow. That name came from God. Eventually, Abraham must have gone from saying his new name with a question mark every time he looked in the mirror at his aging face, to saying his new name with a bold confidence that can only come from a wild faith in an untamable God.
Jesus, like Abraham, lived into the name the Father gave him. Y’shua, “The Lord Saves,” was what he would hear every time his mother called him for dinner. Hebrew is a verb-based language, and the action of the Lord “saving” would become the action that would mark every aspect of Jesus’ life. Emerging victorious from the grave, Jesus, like the Father, names
us with names that feel beyond our scope of understanding. To Jesus, we are “Beloved,” and “Body,” and “Saints,” and so much more. To Jesus, you are “Loved,” “Friend,” “Blessed,” “Redeemed,” “Strong,” “Free,” and so much more.

2. See Revelation 2:17; see also N. T. Wright’s Revelation for Everyone.

The Lord who comes to us all in Advent is coming to you to affirm your name, known to him. Live into it by living into some of the names listed. As you do, you’ll become more fully the one Jesus names his very own.
Naming God, who calls things that are not as though they are, and who calls us according to who you know us to be, show us who we are in your sight. Open our hearts to receive your love, and your affirmation, that we may be free to become a sign of your great presence in the world. Our names are in your hands, and we are ready for you to call us to your vision of greatness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
• Have you ever thought about the fact that God has a name for you that is written on his heart, and that he is calling you to fulfill? What characteristics about you do you think are expressed in God’s hidden name for you?
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