Dear Advent Decorators,
Pastor, mom, wife, aunt, daughter, sister, Trustee, Alum, friend….
Jennifer, Jenn. (period intentional), Jenny, Jenn, Ruth…
All the names I answer to at different times of my life, with different people, in different towns.
Each name or title has significance, weight, and holds for me, a different piece of who I am.
I’ll never forget when my nephew Kyle, worked as an intern for the youth ministry here one summer. During a staff meeting Kyle was referring to me as Jenny – my family name. Everyone did a double take asking, “who’s that?” I just laughed and raised my hand. No one would have known that my goal as a first grader was to change the name Jennifer to Jenny the first chance I had with my teachers. Much to my mother’s chagrin it stuck until high school.
Throughout the scriptures, names are significant. To know and use someone’s name was to hold authority over someone, names were changed by God to denote significant and covenant moments between a person and God, names and genealogies are used again and again in scripture to tie people to a history, a birthright, or establish a connection of lineage with God’s promises. Names are just as important today, which is why during a baptism, I love to ask the parents, “what name is given this child.” Because the family has taken hours and days choosing just the perfect name for a child.
This Sunday we deck our hearts for Advent with the word PEACE and the symbols of the Chrismon tree. Chrismons are a tradition from the late 50’s developed in a Lutheran church in Virginia. Each ornament hung on the evergreen tree in a worship space is literally a symbol of a “Christ Monogram…Chris -Mon”. Each symbol tells the story of who Christ is, all the different names and titles we use to describe Jesus Christ.
This Sunday we will add Chrismons to our worship spaces on the garlands, wreaths and trees of evergreen. We will listen to the words of Isaiah 9, which we will hear again on Christmas Eve, but this week it will help us consider all the many names and characteristics of Jesus which will be born again into our world and into our hearts. For you this Christmas, given your moment in life and your hope for this season, which name for Christ brings your heart the most peace? As you consider what your heart needs most to learn or grow, or heal as you journey toward the manger, what Chrismon means the most for you? Join Pastor Jad and me this Sunday as we consider what’s in His name and find the peace we may be longing for this season.