Sunday, 16 December 2018

Time to put Jesus back in Christmas

MAURICE MICKLEWHITE celebrated his 80th birthday in March.

MAURICE MICKLEWHITE celebrated his 80th birthday in March.

His name is probably not familiar to many of us, yet he has starred in more than 100 films and is one of the most recognised British actors of all time.

He is perhaps better known as Sir Michael Caine.

For many celebrities, having the right name is important. It ought to be unique, memorable and attractive.

Some no doubt spend ages deciding on what stage name to adopt — names matter.

That’s also why most parents will spend significant time in choosing a name for their child, often opting for a name they like the sound of or one that is significant to them.

In 12 days we will be celebrating Christmas, an opportunity to enjoy a few days off work, spend time with family, rest, relax and enjoy — or perhaps a time to overindulge, to overspend, to tolerate family or even, sadly, to be alone.

I wonder if in the midst of whatever our Christmas will bring we will carve out some time to think about another name, one that is truly significant and given to an individual who is unique, memorable and attractive.

Two thousand years ago, God, the creator of our universe, chose a name for his son — Jesus, which means “God saves”.

Over recent decades in our nation Christmas has lost its religious significance with the majority of people, although perhaps being aware of the nativity story, having little or no time for the babe in a manger.

In our hedonistic society, where leisure and pleasure are the gods of choice for so many, is it any wonder that with a decrease in genuine interest in Jesus Christ there is also an increase in a general sense of emptiness and despondency among both adults and children?

In removing Christ from Christmas we haven’t simply lost sight of the reason for the season, we have also lost the reason for life itself.

There is a timeless nature to the name Jesus for every generation needs to be saved from itself, from meaninglessness, from a Christ-less Christmas, indeed a Christ-less existence.

What’s in a name? If that name is Jesus, then the answer is everything.

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