I love Christmas time. I love the smells of Christmas: cinnamon scented candles flickering their light, the smell of the cloves in the apple cider warming on the stove, the aroma of freshly baked Christmas cookies waiting to be devoured, and of course the fragrance of a freshly cut Christmas tree, its boughs decorated with memories of Christmas’ past. For as much as I love the smells of Christmas, I love the sounds of Christmas even more: the ringing of the Salvation Army bell outside a store front, the crackle of a fireplace (or fire pit for those in warmer climes), and most of all the sound of Christmas carols being played for all to hear. Of course one hears the songs at church and on Christian radio, but they can also be heard on television, at the store…and even in public schools. It brings a smile to my face to be so bathed in music that celebrates the birth of Jesus. The Word does not return void, no matter the environment (Isaiah 55:11).
One day this Christmas Season, I was waiting at a traffic light and a big Harley-Davidson pulled up beside me. What did I hear blaring over the rumbling engine but “It Came upon a Midnight Clear.” As I waited for the light to turn green, I was reminded that Jesus came for everyone. He came for the toddler singing and shouting, “The B!-I!-B!-L!-E! That’s the Book for Me!” at the top of his lungs. He came for the Alzheimer’s victim whose presence of mind has been taken from her, yet she can still remember the hymns she once sang many years ago. Jesus came for the innocent boy whose body is racked with cancer, and for those that are not so innocent and have days, months, years, or a lifetime behind bars. He came for you, and He came for me. He came for us all.
Everything about that Midnight Clear – even His name, Jesus….Yeshua (“God saves” or “God is salvation”) is special. He came to “save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21-23). I was then reminded of the Gaither Trio’s rendition of “There’s Something About that Name.” I love that song. I grew up listening to the record (that’s one of those big black circles with a hole in the middle which are notorious for skipping when scratched). This is the song that I sang to Kendall & Kaleb as I rocked them…when they were still small enough to be rocked. During the song, Gloria talks about the power of the name of Jesus. The powerful name that for centuries has healed the broken, given hope to the hopeless, and transformed embittered hearts, even while governments and academics have tried to eradicate Him. The day is coming, however, when every voice will cry out and proclaim the name of Jesus (Philippians 2:10-11), and from that day on for those that believe in the saving power of His name, every day will be Christmas, a celebration of our Lord.
The mere mention of His name can calm the storm, heal the broken, raise the dead. At the name of Jesus, I’ve seen sin hardened men melted, derelicts transformed. The lights of hope put in the eyes of a hopeless child. At the name of Jesus, hatred and bitterness turn to love and forgiveness. Arguments cease. I’ve heard a mother softly breathe His name at the bedside of a child delirious from fever, and watched… as that little body grew quiet, and fevered brow cooled. I’ve sat at the side of a dying saint. Her body racked with pain, who in those final fleeting seconds summoned her last ounce of ebbing strength to whisper Earth’s sweetest name.
Emperors have tried to destroy it. Philosophies have tried to stamp it out. Tyrants have tried to wash it from the face of the Earth with the very blood of those who claimed it. Yet it still stands. And there shall be that final day when every voice that has ever uttered a sound, every voice of Adam’s race, shall raise in one mighty chorus to proclaim the name of Jesus. For in that day, every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is truly Lord. You see, it was not by mere chance that caused the angel, one night long ago, to say to a virgin maiden: His name, His name shall be called
Ya know, there is something, something about that name…….. (~Gloria Gaither)