I’ve been preaching from Matthew 1 during Advent, and tomorrow I wrap up by looking at the meaning and relationship of the two names given to the Lord in the chapter: “Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) and “Immanuel (which means God with us)” (Matthew 1:23).
Thinking about the names of our Lord has set me to thinking about Treebeard’s observation regarding names in The Two Towers: “My name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to.”
I’ve been greatly helped (again!) by Luci Shaw’s reflections on the Incarnation in her poem, “Breath,” which is the reflection quote I selected for tomorrow’s bulletin and which I set out below. I pray it will prove an accelerant for your own reflections and worship.
When, in the cavern darkness, Jesus
opened his small, bleating mouth (even before
his eyes widened to the supple world his
lungs had sighed into being), did he intuit
how hungrily the lungs gasp? Did he begin, then,
to love the way air sighs as it brushes in and out
through the portals of tissue to sustain
the tiny heart’s iambic beating? And how,
fueled by air, the dazzling blood tramps
the crossroads of the brain like donkey tracks,
corpuscles skittering to the earlobes and toenails?
Bottle of the breath of God, speaking in stories,
shouting across wild, obedient water, his voice
was stoppered only by inquisition, unfaith
and anguish. Did he know that he would,
in the end, leak all his blood, heave a final
groan and throw his breath,
oxygen for the world, back to its Source
before the next dark cave?
Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation