The story goes, that I was going to be called Theresa. I can’t remember how or why now, but anyway by the time my dad got to the Registry Office to register my birth, I had become Pamela. (Which no one ever dares call me anyway!)
I’m not sure my life would have been any different if I’d been called Theresa. I’m sure I’d still be the same person, with the same gifts and foibles.
Yet some people’s names tell stories, perhaps a family name, or a name chosen for a particular meaning. In the bible many of the people’s names had meanings. I think especially of Hosea whose children were given the most extraordinary names. ‘Unloved’ and ‘Not-my-people’ (Hosea 1:2-9) were never names high on the list for our children – and I can imagine those names might have had quite an impact on their lives.
And so today, on Christmas Eve, we turn to the Christmas Readings in the book.
And we consider the name of Jesus. Jesus was given his name by the angel, as he told Mary of his expected arrival
An Angel Tells about the Birth of Jesus
26 One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee 27 with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. 28 The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant. 30 Then the angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, 31 and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. 33 He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
Jesus name was packed with meaning. It had all the hopes of Israel bundled into it. It meant that God was here, as he promised. Here to save the world. Here to live in the world. Here to show us God’s ways. Here to save us from our ways.
I thank you for coming to earth,
coming to fulfil your promises,
coming to show us the depth of your love,
coming to show us your way of living.
that you know me
and love me
– not just my name,
but all of me.
Thank you for thinking I am precious.
For as I pray,
may I seek to live,
This year for Advent, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen. You’re welcome to join us on this journey. Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub
Also blogging on the #adventbookclub are: