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

Matthew 1: 21 

Extra readings: Genesis 3: 6; Galatians 5: 19-21

How did you arrive at the names you gave your children? In Joseph’s case, the same angel who told him to go ahead with his plans to marry Mary, told him what to name her baby.

“Jesus” is an English rendering of the Greek name Iēsous, which is a translation of the ancient Hebrew name Yehosua (or Yeshua for short) This name is formed from Hebrew roots signifying “Yahweh is salvation” or “Yahweh saves” and is translated in our English Old Testament as Joshua. We don’t need to guess why the angel said this should be the baby’s name..the angel told Joseph “because he will save his people from their sins.”

In all likelihood, the people of Joseph’s time, just like the people of our own time, had no idea that sin was their biggest problem. If the journalists from the Jerusalem Times had gone around interviewing people with the question, “What’s your biggest problem?” answers like “the drought”, “the Romans”, “my wife”, “my hashish-smoking teenager” would have come back. But when we look at life from God’s perspective we get a very different picture.

Why is sin our biggest problem? Because it’s the reason people remain under the wrath, the judgment, of a holy God. All the peoples of Earth sitting in Death Row with no possible hope of escape. Is that the picture we should we printing onto our Christmas cards? Is that a more accurate picture of Christmas than Frosty the Snowman?


Father, I shudder to think where I would be had you not planned Christmas before the foundation of the world. Thank You and thank You again for your self-sacrificing rescue mission.

Here’s a guideline on how you could do this devotional together as a family

1. Prepare by finding out what the meaning of each child’s name is if you don’t already know. You might find this information on the site below:

Nameberry site

2. Begin by telling the kids all about how you chose their names.
3. Ask each person if they know how Jesus got his name.
4. Read the story from Matthew that explains how Jesus got his name and explain the significance of his being named for what his purpose in life was going to be. Then give each child a piece of paper with their name written on to decorate and colour-in.
5. Finish by praying and blessing each child, then allow them to open their Day 6 Advent Calendar.