The saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie. Words have the power to build or destroy. Words have the ability to open people to possibility or close them off. Words matter, and they matter most when they are used by people we care about and want to be in relationship with.

Names are some of the most important words. Naming something is a sacred honor that comes with relationship or ownership. We honor this when we name a building or a garden or even a room after someone. It is why we give nicknames or pet names to people. Naming something or someone means you are connected to it in a special way.

I will be a grandfather in March. My wife and I have been discussing what our granddaughter will call us. Most of the options are silly names, ridiculous even, but they are meaningful because only she will be able to use that name. It will connect her with us in a singular and special way.

When each of us became part of the Kimray family, we took on that name, and it became ours. We share the Kimray name because we are connected, and we wear our name proudly. When people see that name on a shirt, they associate us with what they know about Kimray, which is usually good! It is part of our identity, it becomes part of us, and Kimray now includes part of what we are.

As we approach the Christmas season, we will celebrate with our biological families and with our families of choice, like Kimray. What we celebrate at Christmas is family. We celebrate the birth of a baby named Jesus to a young couple named Mary and Joseph. In this story, some really important words are used. When the angel tells Mary she is going to give birth to a son, he calls the child the Son of God. Later, when an angel tells a group of shepherds that the baby has been born, the baby is called Savior, Messiah, and Lord. Those words, those names matter. Those words make a difference.

You are part of the Kimray family, and you share our family name. Hopefully that makes a difference in your life. You also have the ability to belong to the family of God. To be a son or daughter of God. That makes the most important difference.

During this Christmas season, I hope you are able to be with those you love and that this time brings you joy. I also hope that you are part of the family of God.

We are family. That is The Kimray Way.

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