“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21 EHV

What is in a name? Modern names might make us wonder what’s up with that name? Biblical names were filled with meaning. Names described the life the child was called to fulfill. An angel told Mary and Joseph the name of their unborn child was to be Jesus. This was amazing because Mary was a virgin and was not expecting to be expecting.

Even more amazing was the meaning of that name Jesus. You and I clearly hear the name Jesus. People in Jesus’ time heard the meaning of that very special name. Names were often ordinary words with common meanings. The people of Jesus’ day heard the meaning “the Lord saves.” Think about that fact for a moment. Over and over, day after day, the people looked at the carpenter’s son from Nazareth and heard people call him “the Lord saves.”

Christmas has come and gone. Sadly more than 50 percent of people in our nation did not celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Yes — less than 50 percent of our population connect Christ Jesus with Christmas. Pray for our nation. Pray that Light of the world would scatter the darkness that lives in so many hearts. And lives.

New Year’s Day is another day our country celebrates. Rightly so. The next year lies ahead filled with unknown promises. Hopes. Dreams. It is extremely exciting to anticipate what great blessings the Lord God Almighty has in store for each one of us. As people of God, we know that in his way and his time our loving, heavenly Father works all things for our good. Not just a few things. Or many things. But all things God works are meant for our good. It all really begins with Jesus, “the Lord saves.”

We might not always understand God’s great plans in our daily lives. Be assured Jesus provides for us, protects us, guides us and directs us. We might even question God’s goodness during “bad” times. We also might question God’s sovereignty when our lives seem out of control. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Wait patiently. Look back at those challenging times months or years later with eyes of a mature faith. Our loving, heavenly Father often makes everything clearer from a distance for our understanding.

Always remember Jesus. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). Always also remember the meaning of the name of Jesus: “the Lord saves.”

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of your Son, our Savior Jesus. Help us to remember Jesus’ name means: “the Lord saves.” We thank you that “the Lord saves” in all ways, always. Amen.

Pastor Timm O. Meyer is at Living Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hays.