The story has it that a frightened young soldier planned to desert from Napoleon's army. He was caught and brought before Napoleon. After a time of questioning, The General asked, "What is your name?" With trembling lips the soldier answered, "Napoleon, Sir!"
When The General heard this he immediately said,
"Change your ways your ways or change your name."
I do not know whether the story is a factual account or not. If not, it should be!
What does this true or anecdotal story have to do with our celebration of Christmas?
As the full story of Christ unfolds it becomes obvious that He is the King whom Herod feared, He is the King of Glory as well as the savior, the one designated to 'save His people from their sins.' It is taught in the Bible and accepted by anyone who has at least read it, that when a man, woman, boy or girl accepts this gift from heaven, wrapped in swaddling clothes and later the darkness and blood of Calvary, said person becomes a Christian by virtue of the New Birth. Our collective name is, 'Christian.'
With the name Christian we have a calling to greatness, greatness of life, greatness of living in harmony with our family name. When mere humans are designated as 'Sons of God' even the angels desire to look deeper into this wonder.
Christ does not insist that we change our ways or change our name. This is a mystery to religionists. He teaches us in what ways we are to follow His example as the elder brother and then empowers us to do it.
At Christmas time each year I am reminded that not only is His name Immanuel precious to me but it is also a great comfort as I face the recurring and new issues of living in our world gone astray. Immanuel is not with me, He is here for me as Paul exclaims in Romans, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" I know the question is rhetorical, causing us to ponder the awesome fact of His presence and this presence being 'for us.'
That God is with and for us is only understood as we grasp the truth of the Bible concerning The Incarnation, God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
For most of my life I played ball, and I know what it is like for people to be for you when you are hitting well, and fielding like a real pro. But when the hits are not falling and the fielding opportunities are falling out of your glove, the crowd and often your inner child whispers or shouts, give it up. In the serious times of life, you need to know that Christ is for you.