Santa Claus goes by different names and titles. Saint Nick or Nicholas. Kris Kringle. Father Christmas. Titles like “saint” and “father” have connotations that give slightly different understandings of who Santa is.
I have several titles. My e-mail signature and the nameplate beside my office door say, “Angie Frame. Midlothian Campus Pastor, Guide Pastor, Student Director.” That’s a lot of titles for one small woman, a lot of responsibility balancing on narrow shoulders.
For me, those titles offer clarity of what I do and what I don’t do. For example, “worship leader” is not one of my titles. Neither is “kids coordinator.” You should be thankful for both of those things; I am.
I have other titles. Mom. Wife. Twin. Aunt. Daughter. Each of those titles tells a piece of who I am and what I do.
What are your titles?
The good news of great joy we’ve considered the last two days is all about titles. I’ve discussed that it is supposed to be good, to cause both joy and fear, and to be for all people. But what exactly is the good news?
Three titles—Savior, Messiah, Lord.
“The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10-11, NIV)
The angel announces that he has good news, and then, he delivers it: Today a Savior has been born. He is the Messiah, the Lord.
The good news is the birth of the Savior/Messiah/Lord. Great!…I think. What do those titles mean, and how are they good news? I’ll address them VERY briefly, but I encourage you to do further reading. You might look up where else these titles show up in the Bible.
Let’s go in reverse order—Lord. I don’t tend to think of “lord” as a title of good news, but rather as someone who “lords” power or status over others. However, the angel clearly says it’s good news this baby is the Lord. Lords provide shelter and protection when danger approaches; they meet basic needs; they lead and guide. I need a lord, because I need all of the above.
Next—Messiah. Messiah and Christ are the same word in two different languages. This title is for the chosen, anointed one who will lead and save the people of God. This baby is neither the first nor the last person anointed and chosen to lead God’s people, but he is the ultimate Messiah and Christ. He leads, not as other anointed ones with coercion or brute force, but with love, wisdom, and grace.
Finally, the angel announces that a Savior is born. Do you need a Savior? Do I need a Savior? Growing up, I only thought of the word “saved” as in relation to heaven and hell, but it’s so much more than that. I’ve found myself needing someone to save me from myself, my culture, and my enemies, for starters.
And the good news is that the Savior/Messiah/Lord I need to save and lead me—he is born. He is here. He is all three titles wrapped up in one bundle of swaddling clothes. He is the baby born in the manger.
That is good news. That brings me great joy.
Questions for Reflection:
- What titles do you have? What do they say about who you are or aren’t?
- Which of these three titles for Jesus—Savior, Lord, and Messiah—resonates most strongly with you right now? Why?
- Do you feel like you need a Lord? A Messiah? A Savior? Why or why not?
- In what areas of your life do you want protection or guidance? What do you want to be saved from?