I went crazy at the weekend and made loads of Gingerbread men. I took some to school and gave them out to the children I share books with. I'd put them in individual bags and stuck Christmas labels on them: "To … from Mrs Reeves."
The reaction from the children was really special and quite significant:
One little boy, who's on the Autistic Spectrum said: "You've got a surprise for us. Oh Thank You Mrs Reeves." The little chap, who finds it difficult to give eye contact and often whizzes around the classroom, gave me an impulsive squeezy hug.
"Did you make them for us?" said another little girl, who finds it quite hard to concentrate in class.
"It's got my name on it!" shouted out one little boy, with great delight and amazement.
I nearly didn't put name labels on them. It would have been easier to hand out gingerbread men unwrapped. The children would have eaten them and that would be that. Their reaction has reminded me of the deep need within us all to be called by name. To be known by name and to be recognised as an individual is a powerful affirmation of who we are.
The Christmas songs and stories tell us that "Santa Claus is coming to town" and that he's bringing gifts to us as individuals.
The prophet Isaiah delivered a message from God that said:
"I have called you by name; you are mine."
The Message translation of the Holy Bible puts it like this:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God.
Happy Christmas, if you're celebrating.