Naming a baby can be a daunting task. Couples typically wrestle with their own preferences, not to mention pressure from parents and grandparents. But Mary and Joseph had no choice about their child's name. The angel who appeared to Mary said about the Son she would bear, "you are to give him the name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
You might think that would be happy news for Mary, but it caused her to ponder deeply what such a name could mean for her Son. You see, to the Israelites, atoning for sin meant offering an unblemished animal to be killed by the priests. Saving people meant sacrifice, and Mary knew that.
She had reason to worry. Jesus, the sinless One, would be the ultimate sacrificial lamb. But the name of Jesus would also have great power. In His lifetime, Jesus demonstrated that He had the power to heal, to cast out demons, to forgive sins. John, the Gospel writer, says that He performed all these "miraculous signs" for an express purpose: "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31)
That first Christmas gift of a birth name, given by an angel of God to Mary, became the perfect Gift for all humanity. And when we believe in Jesus, God pledges we will receive a bonus gift, the Holy Spirit. That promise is for "you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord will call." (Acts 2:39)
How can those who are "far off" receive those amazing gifts this Christmas? From us. That is, from those of us who are willing to proclaim and celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus, not just among ourselves in the Church, but also among those who don't know about Him.
Why not give someone the perfect Gift this Christmas? Don't worry about what to say. If you know Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit within you, so you will find the words. You may even find the perfect way to tell someone by sharing one of the stories in this issue of Priority!
Whatever you do, however you tell the story, be sure to use the Name "that is above every name"—Jesus.
Have a truly blessed Christmas.