“Der da mama, der daddy,” he went on, pointing to the various family members around him.
We had all gathered, post-tree chopping, to do a discrete (against the rules to gather, still) deck-out of the house for Christmas. No, the Camels don’t follow the Nutcrackers. Put them beside the Wise Men. Wait - what’s with the toilet paper role angel on the top of the tree? Cassia, you’re hugging Baby Jesus too hard, he might break (future theological dilemmas will be traced back to this moment, no doubt). Daphne, take the Gentile piggy out of the manger please, and put Santa further behind the Shepherds. There is a chronology here, people! Don’t you know your history?!?
Meanwhile, Judah continued his inventory. “Unka John, Dabid, Cassa, Daffy… Naaaaaa-NAH!” I hid a secret, smug smile at receiving this special emphasis. Scott’s title as grandfather was met with avid debate. “Dad-Dad!” Judah crowed, triumphant and decisive. “NAN-drad!” Daphne countered, disagreeing imperiously. Cassia’s name for him was my personal favorite, but for some reason “Gag-Gag” has been vehemently rejected by the person in question.
Naming matters. Knowing that we are known, seen for who we truly are. Jesus, in messianic prophecies, is named Emmanuel - “God with us” - a name that speaks of who he is and why he came. Just as my little grandson’s expressions of affection and identity all speak to the unique roles we each play in his life, so we name our Lord – Jehova Jireh, Rophe, El Roi…God, who sees, who provides, who heals. And God, in turn, names us – Child, Beloved, Friend.