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Christmas has arrived and Advent is complete. Yet the atmosphere of Christmas can quickly evaporate once January begins. The church gives special thought to the Sunday after Christmas. This would be a special day, even if it wasn’t New Year’s Eve. We like to party, we also like to name our parties. We make sense of things using names, from people to special times of the year. That act of giving a season a name can help us focus as we adopt a frame of mind.

Here’s a question to ponder. What’s in a name? The short answer: everything. When we introduce ourselves to someone or a group of people, where do we typically start? Our name. We are who we are, and we can be nothing more or less. In the two miracle births celebrated during the Christmas season, the names were not left to the parents. The names were given as a part of the angelic pronouncement.

I find it fascinating how often people are given a name by their parents and as they grow older they fit the name. When this doesn’t happen, we comment as though it’s strange. Sometimes I meet people and I think to myself, “They look more like a (fill in the blank here). . .” as if names have personalities.

Aside from the name we are called, we often have an eye towards making a name for ourselves. As we begin 2018, why not make a name for the year? I don’t mean another New Year’s resolution. Make those too, if you want. Aside from that, when we sharpen our focus on one concept, or one goal, we can achieve amazing results. Naming the year can sharpen our focus.

You could call 2018 your "Year of Joy." You can start from the very beginning by naming the year and adopting the frame of mind that your focus is on being joyful and helping others find joy. We see our behavior change during Christmas, as we remind ourselves that it’s Christmas and we somehow find a little more patience for that certain relative or an extra-long line. It doesn’t have to end with Christmas. I’m not suggesting that we pretend that it’s Christmas all year long. Christmas has its season, but a "Year of Joy" can last all year long, because joy doesn’t need a season.

You can find a few more helpful ideas in Galatians 5:22–23.

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law,” (NASB).

The year is wide open for you, and the possibilities are endless. What kind of a name will you make for it?

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