by Mike Durbin
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." – Isaiah 9:6 (CSB)
PLYMOUTH, MI – Decorating the Christmas tree has always been a family project for us. Some seasons, Shar and I do it together, others involve our children or grandchildren. Without fail, every season we talk about ornaments and the stories behind them - almost always the stories we share are about a special person in our lives. It’s a time of remembering.
The Durbin family Christmas tree took on a new look last year when Shar wrote some of names of Jesus on bulbs before hanging them on the tree. We’ve done this before, but last year we took it to the next level. Many thoughts entered our minds as we remembered the names of Jesus together. Names like the verse above: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.“
Names carry special significance in the pages of the Old and New Testaments. Not only do they help us identify one person from another, but they also give us insights into things like a person’s character, personality or mannerisms. The names of Jesus help us remember the essence of who He is, His constant presence in our lives, and the strength He gives us in good times and bad. His names help believers navigate the many challenges of life in a broken world.
This gave me an idea for Christmas that your family might consider. How about gathering around the table and making a list of the names of Jesus as a family. Write those names on bulbs and hang them on the tree together. We’ve done that and it’s fun. They probably won’t be works of arts, but they will be remembered long after the presents under the tree are forgotten.
It might add fun to make a word search puzzle of the names of Jesus for everyone to do. Older children could be challenged to find a verse in the Bible that uses that name of Jesus. Parents could share testimonies how that name for Jesus has helped them in their lives.
For instance, in our verse above, Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace.”
No one ever experienced peace like Jesus. His world was filled with different versions of the same problems that plague our world today. Jesus faced conflict, drama, false accusations, misunderstandings, betrayal and more. And yet, He experienced inner peace in the midst of it all. He wasn’t the Prince of Peace because He lived a problem free life. That doesn’t exist for anyone. He was the Prince of Peace because of an inner peace - a peace of mind - that helped Him face life’s challenges.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.