25 December 2005
And his name shall be called ... (Christmas Day 2005)
Bible Reading: Luke 2: 1-11
Bible Reading: Isaiah 9:2-9
In October this year, Princess Mary of Denmark had a baby boy
The princess mary had a baby boy
the princess mary had a baby boy
the princess mary had a baby boy, and they say that his name is... ???
No one knows yet. In fact there is no name yet. He gets one in late January.
Maybe seeing he has an Australian heritage, they'll name him "Bruce".
My brother is called Bruce.
Do you know what your name means?
'Industrious' 'Manly' 'Courageous' 'Protector' 'True' 'Famous' 'A pool' or 'Elf Army'
'Gordon' means 'a triangular shaped hill'.
Chat with someone near you about what your name means if you know it.
The child whose birth we are celebrating today in some ways had many many names.
Not like modern royalty which seems to like giving 4 first names
William Arthur Philip Louis, Henry Charles Albert David
or maybe for the Danish/Australian prince
Bruce Trevor Ocker Bazza
The child we are here about today as far as we know only had one name that he was called in that sense – Jesus.
But instead he has a whole pile of names – maybe more like titles – that were there to tell people about him and about the God he would follow and help reveal to people.
Names we’ve heard in the Hebrew Scriptures from Isaiah and which are up in front of us today
Prince of peace
and the overall one – Emmanuel – which means, God is with us.
That's the important one, I reckon. 'God is with us'
It occurred to me this week why Christmas is so universal;
why Christmas applies and is picked up and celebrated by so many people, in so many situations, from so many backgrounds, in so many places.
I think the reason that Christmas is so universal is because it is so particular for people.
And I think it is the wide variety of the names or title that point to God that help us see just how particular it is.
Having a God who is 'with us' is all pretty useless and empty if that God only relates in some ways, at some times and in some settings in life.
That would need a name 'God is occasionally with us'
- For people who need the wisdom of Solomon because life is just too frazzled and tense
his name shall be called 'Wonderful Counsellor'
- For people who are finding their lives are emotionally or physically violent and abusive
his name shall be called 'Prince of Peace'
- For people who are feeling abandoned and empty
his name shall be called 'constant source of meaning'
- For people whose lives are bursting with cause for celebration
his name shall be called 'explosions of joy'
Christmas reminds us that God is like a chameleon - constantly changing appearance around us.
But unlike a chameleon, which changes its appearance so it is harder to see and to find God constantly changes appearance to us so God is easier to see and find.
Whatever our setting, God expresses God’s self for us.
For any bad news we may be experiencing individually or as a community or people God’s reality is good news into that situation, into that experience.
Where are you in life today?
Needing someone to help you explode with joy?
Needing a presence of a reliable friend?
Needing the Wisdom of Life.
God’s news for you is good news.
The names up on the scroll are just the beginning of the story.
Our names, our settings are needed before this scroll is our Christmas scroll of God.
Think for a moment of what for you – today, this week, this time, this place is your setting, and in that setting, what is a name for God will help you know that God is with you.
And today, before you go, now, throughout the rest of the service and immediately afterwards,
come and write your name for God as you are experiencing God,
as you would like to experience God, or as you believe you need to experience God
For our great Chameleon is constantly changing
to be with you
to be with each of us.