I’ve been thinking about His names this Christmas season and how He has a multitude of them; for a first, middle and last name simply cannot contain His glory.
And how He must know the agony and delight of deciding on a name, a name to contain the essence of someone starting so small. So small but with so much destiny.
How we too carried in our hands and on our hearts the names of our children; we wrote them down in different combinations and possibilities. How we said them aloud until they sounded just right. And how we saw her, across the world and carried her name all the more. Because I could not carry her the way I did the others and we had a picture of a face to set a name right. How she was full of grace in those orphanage walls and how those walls just couldn’t contain her. How she was indeed the happy orchid that they had named her abandoned at eight days old but beautiful flowers need the sun to thrive and it was grace that gave her the light of day.
And so I think about His name. The One above them all. I long to know how He chose His only son’s name. My oldest son kept my maiden name as his first name… I handed it down and he carries it now. In the ultimate bestowing of identity, God handed down the most precious and offensive name to His baby son – Everlasting Father. Precious because in His Son, we are loved and it is lasting. It cannot be thwarted. There is no end. That genealogy so entwined that the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and glorifies the Son. So the Son is named after His Papa and embodies His ways and manner and very essence in the most divinely mysterious and holy perfect way.
Precious beyond measure. Too divine and wide to fit a certificate of birth.
But offensive and controversial. Because we as a people logically assume that a Mighty God would be One who is Everlasting. Surely, He would exist forever and outside of time. But a Father? Ours is the only Mighty God who can spark a universe in the raw power of His hands and in that same magnificent grip, hold His children so that they don’t break. So that they are sheltered. So that they are carried. Way back near the beginning in the barren desert, “the Lord your God carried them, as a father carries his son, all the way until they reached this place.”
And David cries out to His Father in heaven and for a kingdom to come and Jesus has the name and the authoritative audacity to say that He and the Father are one. Ours is the only Mighty God who also happens to be an Everlasting Father. He is in the business of carrying us with strong hands that don’t give out to get us where we need to be. How many fathers have I watched carry a traumatized little one down an airport corridor in one country to a new country to get them where they need to be with their forever family. How many fathers have I viewed on a news feed, carrying their children, their brother’s children, their neighbor’s children across a desert – just days ago, getting their sun scorched and sand covered children to safety in a bordering city. All the way until they reached this place.
In the Son we have the most Mighty God and Everlasting Father in one and There. Is. No. Other. God. who carries a name like that. Who can do that. Who can say that. Not one. No other who prepares a table for His own who can’t even carry themselves to the feast. So He carries them. No other who provides the food. For He is Mighty God but just as much The Bread of Life and we can taste and see. Who props up the enemies just to watch and who at a glance forbids them move one step closer to His own. We can’t do it and there is no amount of sacrifice, sayings, rituals, or penance we can do to atone. He does it all. With preeminence and omnipotence, but as a Papa.
A Papa who I know understands the heart of mothers and fathers in far away lands, who, because it was best, gave up a child. How He must weep with those who weep because a baby left on a street corner, was the right thing to do in this broken down world. Left meant life. How He must wail with birth parents everywhere who do the heart-breaking thing because it is the right thing. How He placed a tiny one in a basket down a river because it was best for a chosen people and how He placed His own in a straw covered wooden box because it would save an entire people, chosen and adopted. And He gave Him a multitude of names for a first, middle and last name could not cover the destiny or keep the history or display the of this child. How Joseph’s kind adoptive father hands cradled Him and how He tore the veil so we all could come into a Mighty God Papa’s hands that love with an everlasting love.
How specifically in this season, how another name runs through my heart more than any other. Man of Sorrows. Fully divine yet fully man. The weight that a man must feel who bore the guilt of us all. Fully King and full of grief. Carrying our sorrows He carried us all the way until we reached the place where we were found righteous and forgiven and home. How he signed my adoption papers that look like ransom and sealed them with His innocent blood. How offensive it must look to someone who doesn’t know what it is to be loved like that. How they must long to know deep down in places they dare not confess how it would feel and what it would mean to be carried to that place.
How the Mighty God is also the Good Shepherd who reveals His glory to His namesake. There are always those in the fields, keeping watch by night, hoisting the lost ones on their backs and returning them to the fold. How they were tending and bearing and watching that night and His glory gets announced on majestic display.
And that is nothing compared to when He comes again. Because the Good Shepherd is the Everlasting Father who is coming back – the Man of Sorrows who is the Risen King. There is no grave and no one name that can hold Him. I see the babe in the manger and I whisper, “Come back soon. Come back soon.” like a lullaby to my heart that can’t take much more of the world, knowing that the Wonderful Counselor is the embodiment of peace and that He does not change as my fragile heart does encountering the wrongs. The Prince of Peace to make every wrong right. The one who adopted me and carries me all the way until I reach this place. With Him.
My Christmas carol this season – Come back soon.
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! What a Savior.