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08 December 2022

The Birth of a Baby: Name

The word PiFò, in the name of our ministry partner PiFò Haiti, means stronger in Haitian Créole. It emphasises the aim of local Christians who are seeking to bring the strength of the Kingdom of God to their country. When Jesus saw the large crowd hungry, He felt compassion and provided for them (Matthew 14). We see Jesus working on the island of La Gonâve in Haiti, when we see PiFò Haiti providing meals for the hungry there. Not only that, but their holistic approach, which ranges from Christian education to feeding programmes and agricultural projects, helps to build the community and the local economy, with a focus on revealing the Gospel in tangible ways. All of this working together to build up a stronger Haiti.

An Advent devotional on Matthew 1:18-25
You’ve just found out a friend is having a baby boy… A quick congratulations is in order, and soon the question, “So, have you thought of any names yet?” From the time a baby is born into the world to the first time we meet someone, we want to know their name or how to address someone. We can make so many connections and assumptions about people we’ve never met, based just on their name.

In Matthew 1:18-25 we read how an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said they were to name the baby Mary was expecting, Jesus or Yeshua. The name translates as Joshua, but has morphed into Jesus meaning ‘Yahweh Saves’. Every time the name of Jesus is mentioned, Good News is being proclaimed… Yahweh Saves! His name had, and still has, significant meaning and purpose. Jesus will save His people from their sins.

Sometimes names are given based on a description of a person. I think back to the movie based on the book “Dances with Wolves”. The main character, Dunbar, is observed playfully chasing around with a wolf he’s befriended and is given the Sioux name, "Sunkmanitu Tanka Owaci,“ which translates to ”Dances with Wolves". Matthew 1:23 tells us that Jesus would be called, ‘Immanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us.’ Jesus was observed being God with us! The miracles He did, the kindness He showed, the truth He spoke, would affect all those around Him and show them the Father, there, in person with them and around them.

Centurions, cripples, criminals, pharisees, fishermen and many more would receive salvation from their sins and know the presence of God! 2,000 years later and His name continues to do that.

Let’s share the name of Jesus this Christmas!

Your Advent 2023 Prayer Challenge:

Research what your name means. What would you like people to call you? Reflect on other names Jesus is given in the Bible and give thanks for his character!
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