What’s in a Name?

Read:  Luke 1:26-33
Merry Christmas Christ is Born

I have not done a lot of Christmas shopping yet but the few times I have been in the stores I have noticed their reluctance to wish me a Merry Christmas.  The standard greeting is “Have a happy holiday!”  Now, I realize this is no new issue or conversation, our culture has been headed down this road for some time now, but as Christians and followers of Jesus we need to celebrate and make known why this season is truly Christmas and not just another holiday.

This is how Wikipedia defines the word or name Christmas….  “Christmas or Christmas Day (also known as Christ’s Mass) is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed generally on December 25th as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.  A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth night.  Christmas is a public holiday in many of the worlds nations and is celebrated culturally by a large number of non-Christian people, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.”

Some people assume that the name Christmas has been around since that night in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  However, most people realize it was a name given to the day at a later date.  Most historians believe that date to be around 1038 A.D.. Sometimes the history of words and names can be interesting.  Did you know that the word or term “teenager” was first used in Popular Science magazine article in 1941?  That word or term is so common now that we just assume that it has always been.

In Luke 1 Mary is given instructions by the angel to name her son “Jesus.”  That name is very important because it means “Savior.”  Right after the angel tells Mary that he says, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”  Names do matter!  Words do matter!

As we approach another Christmas Day I would like to encourage us all to take this name “Christmas” to heart.  If you are a Christian this is the day that your Savior was born, that is more than reason to celebrate.  If you are not a Christian my prayer is that this day will encourage you to receive Jesus as your Savior and celebrate what making Him the Lord of your life can truly do for your life.

Notice in the description above that it says Billions of people will celebrate this day.  That is both humbling and incredible at the same time.  Christmas is truly a reason for the world to celebrate!  It is only a “holiday” because many people get off of work, it is truly Christmas because Jesus, God’s Son, came to the world and offered salvation, forgiveness, grace, and eternal life in heaven to all who will believe.

Make it personal:  When you hear the greeting “Have a happy holiday” this week or next I would like to encourage you to respond by wishing them a Merry Christmas in return.  Be friendly, happy, and keep the greeting simple.  It is bound to make an impact.  Also remember that many of those who work retail are required to say that, it may not be their desired greeting.  In fact, some may respond back to you and say, “And Merry Christmas to you also.”

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church