Mary Christmas

In the spring of 1986, a young woman named Mary Burnside was married to Leeroy Christmas. Thus, she became Mrs. Mary Christmas. She likes her name and feels it brings a lot of cheer to people, but there are downsides.

They get a ridiculous number of prank phone calls. People will call to ask if they are missing any reindeer. When she orders take away or calls for a taxi, the people on the other end often hang up, thinking it was a joke. It’s impossible for her to make reservations at a restaurant. “Table for two for Mary Christmas.” No, that doesn’t work.

You would think her name is rare, but there are over 100 Mary Christmases in the United States. I’m hoping that most of those names came through marriage and weren’t intentional on the part of parents. The last name Christmas comes from Wales and was used once upon a time for people born on Christmas Day.

Names matter. They may tell us when or where someone was born. A name might describe what the family occupation was. Names shape who we are and how we experience the world. When the angel appeared to Mary (the mother of Jesus), he told her that the baby was to be called Jesus, for “he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).

Jesus’ birth was no accident, no after-thought in God’s planning. He knew what his destiny was to be and stated it up front. As we move towards Christmas Day, we put our thoughts not on all the festive cheer and trimmings, but on the joy that comes from knowing we have been saved from ourselves. No other name but the name of Jesus.