Everyone has a name. Names identify who we are. The names of some people have specific meanings. For example, my name, Christopher, comes from the Greek language and means Bearer of Christ. In my case, the meaning of my name is both an honor and a challenge. It is wonderful to have the name, Christ, as part of my name. The tough part is living a life that even comes close to being consistent with the name.
The Gospel of Matthew says that the son to be born of Mary will fulfill what God said through the words of the prophet, Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us (Matthew 1:18-24). This name leaves no question about the identity of this child born of Mary. He is the divine Son of God who became a human person living among us. God who is with us.
As people of faith, we believe that God calls each one of us by name. As Christians who bear the name of Christ, our call is to make God who is with us present to the world. We do that by letting our names remind us that as human beings, we have dignity because we were created in the image of God. We make God present to the world by caring when the names of other human beings are being snuffed out through violence, poverty, hunger or abuse. We make God present by trying to reconcile with someone whose name makes us uncomfortable or angry. There are those whose names remind us that we are cared for and loved. To them, we can say thank you. How about the people who we see every day whose names we do not know?Maybe it is time to learn them.
We are preparing to celebrate the birth of Emmanuel, God who is with us. These days before Christmas can be a time to remember that God is with us every day through each other. We can be sure that God, who knows each of us by name, is thrilled every time we bring his name to the world.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector