Have you heard the story about the little girl who came home one Sunday waving a paper? “Mommy!” she said. “My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!” The mother studied the picture for a moment and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture. “This is wonderfully drawn, but why have you made all these people riding on the back of an airplane?” the mother gently asked.“It’s the flight into Egypt,” the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture’s meaning was not immediately obvious. “Oh,” the mother asked cautiously. “Well, who is this mean-looking man at the front?” “That’s Pontius, the Pilot,” the girl said, now visibly impatient. “I see. And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby.” Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, “But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?”
The little girl sighed. “Can’t you tell? That’s Round John Virgin!”
I know, I know, that is b-a-a-a-a-a-d. But the sad truth is that little girl’s mixed-up perspective of Christmas is not much different than the notions many carry around today. I am not here to take potshots at people or their customs/traditions. I am beyond caring whether a family talks about Santa, the North Pole, Rudolph, and all the other stuff of Christmas. I DO CARE when Christ-followers lose sight of the purpose for Christmas but then again, it is not for me to judge another. It is my purpose to remind and encourage. I cringe of the time when I was a younger pastor and thought I knew it all. I preached against Santa. Said stupid things like “If you mix Santa’s name up it spells SATAN. ” How dumb is that? If it hadn’t been for my mother-in-law’s fun at Christmas, I don’t know if my girls would have ever heard about Santa. What a kill-joy I was. 🙁
But, at the same time, Christmas is certainly more than presents & things some will never wear or some will wear or play with once. Advent Conspiracy Week #3 follows “Worship Fully” and “Spend Less” with “Give More.” I know it is a hackneyed phrase to say it since you have probably said/heard it a bazillion times but the gift of Christmas is why we celebrate. Several years ago I started thinking about that saying, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” It dawned on me that saying is not true. Truth be known: we are the reason for the season; Jesus is the meaning of the season.” it was because of our sin that He came. That was His reason for coming. Someone had to die for the sin of mankind (and it is not because it is a dirty planet). He came to die for our sins and to give us HOPE.
The Names of Jesus give a vivid picture of that. Check out these words from Isaiah 9:6:
“For to us a son is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
PRINCE OF PEACE.”
As so many preachers do, I am going to take each one of those names and show how they offer HOPE. I would certainly appreciate your prayers for me and the church community I minister to. This is a tough time for many and the names of Jesus have the power and potential to change lives. Thanks.
One question: which name of Jesus means the most to you? Thanks to Dan for the banner.