Once upon a time my Momma directed our church pageants. While going through her papers, I discovered she left me with many pages of scripts, notes, and music for performing the Christmas story. I’ve chosen 12 of those beloved songs and written Unwrapping Christmas: Advent 4-Week Devotional to help you discover more about the Christ child and reflect on what the birth of the long-awaited Messiah means to you. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Unwrapping Christmas.
The Beautiful Name
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him JESUS.” Luke 1:30-31 NIV
I perpetually hum around the house – and not just during the holidays. My husband often observed, “Something must be wrong if Jackie isn’t singing or humming.” But then Roy died, and the music stopped. During that first Advent season following my husband’s death, I couldn’t bring myself to put a tree up or even place a few decorations in the house, much less sing. I felt numb. I’m sure Momma pushed and carried me through that Christmas and the others that followed. She knew the importance of traditions and the need to make new memories.
At some point, Momma reminded me of a special Christmas memory, a tradition begun by a young neighbor girl who became our sons’ first babysitter (other than their doting grandparents.). She created clothespin reindeer for each of us to hang on our Christmas tree and personalized each reindeer with our names. We maintained the tradition as our sons grew and moved out on their own. If they weren’t home to hang their reindeer on the Christmas tree, the ornament was stationed under the tree until our sons arrived. Lori’s thoughtfulness continues to enrich our lives nearly fifty years later.
Yet one reindeer, my husband’s, has been sitting under the tree for the past eleven years. It reminds us that we never forget, and while we celebrate Christmas as our family increases, we can tell them the story of Gampi and his reindeer.
The prophet Isaiah knew the power of a name. So did John R. Clements, an Irish-born poet whose lyrics, written in 1902, remind us, “The mention of Jesus is sweet.” May His beautiful name resound through your thoughts as you prepare for this Christmas season.
Heavenly Father, thank You for music that reminds us of Your continued love for us all. Amen.