What’s In A Name?

The Herald-News
December 19, 2012

“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”

We often say Christmas is for kids—and the adults who become childlike each December 25th. For me, children and Christmas are vivid and precious in special ways this year.

Hands down, my greatest Christmas present was in 1978, when our firstborn came into the world at 6:31 PM, Christmas night. Christmas has never been the same for Cheryl and me since. We named her Joy, and she has been an immeasurable, constant gift. This year, another great Christmas season present was born.

Last Wednesday, December 12, 2012, I received this text: “Josiah John Eliashib Williams was born at 1:04 PM. He was 8 lbs, 8 oz., and 20 ½ inches.” Josiah’s first of two middle names is mine, and he is named after me. When I was called and my permission sought some weeks ago, I tingled all over in a way I never had before.

Sadly, more thoughts of children came with the horrific news from Connecticut last Friday: twenty six persons were killed in a school shooting—twenty of them were children.

Probably every pastor in Rhea County said some of the things mine did last Sunday. He called us to not be controlled by fear (see Isaiah 41:10). He called us to prayer and to remember Jesus.

The glad tidings of Christmas bring a good news that is bad news first. The bad news: the world and each occupant are separated from God because of sin. It started in the Garden of Eden when the first man and woman intentionally ignored God and sinned, and it has been accumulating ever since. The Connecticut tragedy is a stunning reality check of mankind choosing to take God’s freedom to believe, and then to think and behave on their own. One pastor wrote this weekend, “The murders of Newtown are a warning to me—and you. Not a warning to see our schools as defenseless, but to see our souls as depraved. To see our need for a Savior.”

The bad news is not the end! The joyful, amazing rest of the story is the good news Immanuel has come—He was among us on earth; He died as our substitute so we can live forever with Him; He was raised from the grave; He will live in us forever.

When my pastor talked about the shootings, he bravely asked what many ask at such times. It’s the hard question: “Where was God—why didn’t He stop it?” His answer was simple and profound. “He already has…in Jesus.” Only the Christ of Christmas, embedded in once dark and desperate souls, can transform each one of us to have and live and walk in the light of His presence. Why do we look everywhere else?

This Christmas, childlike faith seems so, so pure, strong, and right.


0 Responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: