As Christians, we recognize the name of Jesus as the one belonging to Christ, our Redeemer; the Living Word; God made flesh. Even for non-Christians, this name is recognized as being more than just an ordinary name.
But, in his own time, the name “Jesus” was quite common – much like “Mary.” One wonders what the angel was thinking, telling the Holy Family to name their God-child something so unremarkable. Shepherds and magi alike, coming from distant lands were to use this name as part of the sign that they had found the Messiah . . . but what if they encountered dozens of babies named Jesus along the way?
Part of me wonders if his being named something so commonplace is exactly the point.
Perhaps if we aren’t sure whether we are encountering the Christ or not, we might be more inclined to look for sparks of the Divine in everyone we meet. Perhaps that was exactly what God intended; that we recognize and honour the Christ in everyone. Including ourselves.
Download the service booklet here: Liturgy at Home Naming of the Lord January 1 2023