I don’t know about you, but I am forever hearing about what a wonderful opportunity Christmas is to share Jesus. Yes indeed, Christmas is one of the rare occasions that society is at least aware of Christianity and Jesus. But for me, more than anything, Christmas just feels busy.
Christmas often feels more like something to survive, rather than something to take advantage of for the sake of the gospel.
As well as a job, church, home, friends and family that make my life feel full at the best of times, now I also have to prepare for Christmas. Both my young kids have birthdays within a month of Christmas. Someone (or everyone) is ill at some point. It’s cold. It’s dark. Christmas doesn’t feel much like an opportunity for anything. Christmas often feels more like something to survive, rather than something to take advantage of for the sake of the gospel. Or maybe that’s just me?
But, despite all this, there is something about Christmas that has been challenging me this year. One familiar advent reading is taken from Isaiah 64:1-9, and the line that has stuck with me is the plea of Isaiah in verse two for God to make His name known to His enemies.
This begs the question – what are the names of God that are made known at Christmas?
Prince of Peace
Hope of the World
And so many more.
When the Bible uses the names of God, it is often describing His attributes, aspects of His character; ultimately, what He is like.
When the Bible uses the names of God, it often describes His attributes, aspects of His character; ultimately, what He is like. Here, Isaiah is foretelling that God, through Jesus, will tell His enemies that His essence is bent towards reconciliation, restoration and peace. To His enemies He offers reassurance that He is with them. To His enemies He promises comfort and counsel. To His enemies He extends the hand of friendship and hope.
Christmas is busy. But it is also one of the few times when you are allowed to admit that you are busy, or lonely, or stressed. If you ask people how they are doing this time of year, you may well be offered an honest answer. This, for me, is the opportunity I want to take notice of this advent. I want to ask God which of His names needs to be revealed to someone I encounter today.
Does someone who is overwhelmed need to know the Wonderful Counsellor? Does someone who is dreading being alone at Christmas need to know Emmanuel? Does someone caught up in family feuds and conflict need to know the Prince of Peace?
I want to ask God which of His names needs to be revealed to someone I encounter today.
So, as I go about preparing for Christmas, in the midst of the busy, the cold, and the chaos, I want to make God’s name known to those who do not yet know Him. My prayer is that in those “how are you?” moments, not only will I listen to the answers they give me, but I will also listen to God’s answer as I ask Him, “Which of your names does this person need to know this Christmas?”