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"Hey, buddy, how are you doing? I haven't seen you in years!"
We've all been there - you're out in a store or restaurant, and suddenly you see someone you recognize, and they recognize you - but you just can't remember their name. You try hard, but you can't seem to come up with that name you once knew well, so you just call them "Buddy" or "Pal," or some other vague name like that, trying to conceal your forgetfulness.
Nobody likes to have their name forgotten. We all like to think we're important enough in the lives of others that they will know us right away when they see us, and smile as they call us by name. We expect it, but it can be hard to return at times. But if you can use your friend's name, by all means you should.
That comes to mind when Christmas draws closer each year. As sure as death and taxes, somebody will send out an email, and, at the end, they wish me a merry X-Mas, or a store will have an X-Mas sale.
It's not X-Mas, it's Christmas! Look at that first part of the word - Christ!
We don't celebrate the birth of X, and X didn't die on a cross to save us from our sins, but Christ did. He was born in a manger in Bethlehem, lived 33 years on this earth without sin, then gave his life in a painful death to pay for the sins we commit each day. I would say that's a friend we all need to remember by name, wouldn't you?
What's more, at this time of year when gifts are wrapped in fancy paper with pretty bows and ribbons, we often overlook the ultimate gift that Christ brought us - forgiveness. It didn't come in a shiny box or with ribbons attached, and it also doesn't come with any strings attached. It's ours free of charge, and all we have to do is ask him for it. We aren't expected to buy a gift in return, and all we have to give back is love and faith in Christ as we live a life dedicated to him, and his gift is ours forever, free of charge.
If somebody gave you a nice gift like a new car, you certainly would remember their name, and you would smile every time you spoke that name from then on.
This year, speak the name of Christ, and don't call him Buddy, Pal or X. After all, he offers the greatest gift you could ever hope to receive.