What’s in a name? Late in the year of 1974, a little girl was born a few weeks earlier than expected. She was due in December but arrived mid-November. Her name had been decided upon weeks before – “Holly”—appropriate for a December baby and the Christmas season. No matter that she was born before Thanksgiving, she would still be called “Holly” for the holidays.
I’m glad for the name my parents gave me. I’ve embraced it! You will find everything from holly dishes to holly bushes around our home. Ever since I was a child, I’ve joyfully thrown myself into preparations for Christmas. I’ve been fortunate that for the most part, the holidays have wonderful memories attached to them. They have always been a favorite time—a time filled with family and special traditions. However, with age and the inevitable increasing of responsibilities, more energy is required to keep up with every tradition in the effort to make Christmas as “good” or as memorable as I remember. I’ve noticed that the expectations I place on myself to “do it all” have filled me with dread instead of enthusiasm. Yes, surprisingly, Holly has become a bit crabby at Christmas.
In the stress and chaos of the holiday calendar, how easy it becomes to forget…
What’s in a name? Long ago, a Savior was born to a young girl as predicted. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet (Isaiah 7:14), saying, ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.’” Matthew 1:21-23
“Remember the Reason for the season” has become a bit trite, but I find that I often need reined-in by the reminder. Decorating, shopping, parties, programs, plays, concerts, cookie baking, candy making, movie watching… Wow! Keeping traditions can become burdensome, which doesn’t lend itself well to celebrating the birth of Christ! Keeping Christ as the center of family commitments and activities during the holidays may require leaving some things out and letting go of some expectations of self. The celebration of the Incarnation, “God with us,” should be the BEST time of the year, not the most dreaded.
I’m thankful for the ways God has refocused my eyes on Him this holiday season. May the Lord fill your heart with grateful wonder as you intentionally make time to ponder the significance of His taking on of flesh to dwell among us. (“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” John 1:14)
Note for moms… This link provides print-outs for an Advent Chain on the names of Jesus. It’s a great idea for keeping the focus of Christmas on Christ! http://www.spelloutloud.com/names-of-jesus-advent-chain.html