My friend recently became a grandmother. She quickly posted on Facebook her granddaughter’s name and a sweet picture of the newborn. Several more photos have followed during the past week.
My cousin regularly posts pictures of her precious adopted daughter, now nine months old.
Another cousin proudly posted his daughter’s name and picture when she became a page in the provincial legislature.
Seeing my hubby’s name come up in text messages and phone calls while he spent a week in Vancouver on business was comforting as I was mourning the loss of a friend.
This same friend’s lovely picture and name were projected on the screen as we remembered her life and the impact she had on each of us.
In life, and in death, our name carries great significance. We associate it with family history, unique personality traits, mannerisms and peculiarities, abilities and gifts, relationships, accomplishments, and the roles we fill.
The above events have been much on my mind and heart as I have begun preparations for the Christmas season. It’s so easy to get caught up in
- buying the latest decorations (I’ll admit I have)
- indulging in all sorts of goodies (chocolate truffles anyone?)
- baking way too much ahead (defeats my weight loss program)
- spending all day putting up those new decorations (yes, I’m speaking from experience)
- ordering on-line (and remembering to do it soon enough)
- finding special gifts for special people (has to be perfect, of course!)
- buying sewing materials to make gifts (if there’s time to finish them)
I’m glad all these activities and the distractions they bring have been tempered by my resolve to remember the reason why I am doing all this in the first place. Ten days ago, my church’s women’s program held our annual Sights and Sounds of Christmas. It always helps me focus on why we celebrate this season.
This year, one of the special features was a “nativity tour”. Our fellowship room was cozily lit with strings of white LED lights and decorated with many nativity scenes on loan from some of the women. As I peered into each one I was amazed at the uniqueness of each set – not one was alike! The one focal point of each was the baby Jesus.
While the Hebrew name “Yeshua” (from which “Jesus” comes) was a common one, its significance among Christians is unmatched. To those of us who believe in Jesus and have committed our lives to following Him, the name of Jesus reminds us of why He came to earth.
Long ago the angel, Gabriel, said to the virgin Mary, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31)
When the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream he gave him an identical message,
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
On the eighth day after His birth Mary and Joseph responded with obedience to the Lord’s instruction and called Him Jesus. (Luke 2:21)
His name actually means “salvation” or “the Lord saves”.
The shepherds heard a host of angels announce, “a Savior has been born to you…” (Luke 2:11)
While they were in Jerusalem for Jesus’ circumcision, Simeon had been given a message from God that he would not die until He had seen the Messiah. He took the infant in his arms and praised God saying, “…my eyes have seen your salvation…a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30,32)
An elderly prophetess, Anna, saw them in the temple and “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:38)
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s plan to bring salvation to all humankind. I am glad and thankful to call Him Jesus, My Savior!
Until next time,
*All Scriptures are from the NIV.