All in a Name

Dec. 30, 2012

When eight days had passed, Jesus’ parents circumcised him and gave him the name Jesus. This was the name given to him by the angel before he was conceived.  – Luke 2:21

Expecting parents have a big job: picking the name of their child. This is a big deal. Will you pick a family name or not? Is there significance to the name? Once the name is picked, now it’s time to decide how the name will be spelt and whether there will be a nickname.

There are three little girls at Midland have relatively the same name. Alana is now over two and she is known simply as Lanie. Elena is just under a year old and her name is pronounced just like Alana but spelt differently. Right before Christmas, Layne was born. Her name is pronounced Lane. I’m thinking the “y” makes it look more feminine.

This summer, my college friend Jayne had two boys. It took her a few days to nail down the names. One day while visiting at the hospital, Jayne said the nurse informed her the day’s task was to name the babies. By the end of the day, Baby A became Brady and Baby B became Cayden. Jayne looked at various names, spellings and how the first name sounded with the last name. She knew these boys would have these names for the rest of their lives and wanted to get them right.

In Jewish culture, a special ceremony was held the eighth day after birth to name the child. It was important for Mary and Joseph to honor and observe all Jewish traditions. When it came time to name their baby, they didn’t have any debates or big discussions. The baby had already been named for them by the angel. It would be Jesus.

Throughout the Bible, we find many, many names for Jesus: Christ, Counselor, Savior, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Son of God, Son of Man, Emmanuel to name a few. Each of these names emphasizes something special about Jesus. Together, they provide for us a much broader, wider interpretation of why Jesus came. Sometimes I’m asked by there are so many different names for Jesus. Just as different names are more meaningful and significant for us, we may relate to a particular name for Jesus more than another. People pick different names because they are particularly meaningful for them. Go ahead! Pick the name for Jesus that speaks to you.

Jesus, Jesus! Oh, what a wonderful name! Thank you, Lord God, for this special name for this special baby. May we find many names for Jesus that are particularly meaningful for us. Speak to us, Lord God, through these various names. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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