A Name

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Birthday Of A King"1 (Lyrics)

We all are given a name. Sometimes, it has a significant meaning; sometimes, nicknames are used, but always it is our own.

I was given the name Vincent, but normally I am addressed by the abbreviation, Vince. Early on, however, I learned that if I heard my mother say, with great emphasis, VINCENT, I was usually in trouble!

When I was a very young child, my first playmate couldn't pronounce my name. When his mother was talking with my mother for the first time, she said how happy she was that her young son had a playmate named Benson. My mother was confused until she realized that I was the playmate, but with my name mispronounced.

My eldest grandchild was named Michael, but his nickname quickly became Mike. Two of his cousins have brought into the family boys named Michael, who also go by Mike. You can imagine the confusion at family gatherings when Mike is called.

One of the favourite staff members at my residence is Ben, who is often called Beni. He told me that his real name is Benroben.

Sometimes, family names have interesting origins, either known or unknown.

In 1956, my wife and I were Salvation Army Officers in charge at Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. My brother drove from Sarnia, Ontario, to visit us, and at the Sunday service, I asked him to give a talk.

His first comment was to say that he had driven past lovely lakes. This brought a smile to the congregation, since Mr. and Mrs. Lake and their three children were in the audience and were quite pleased to be called the "lovely lakes".

Next, he said that he had driven up hills and down dales. Again, there were smiles everywhere, since the Hill family and Mr. and Mrs. Dale were also present.

Finally, he said that fortunately, he hadn't met any storms. The audience broke into laughter since the senior lay leader sitting beside him had the name of Bill Storms!

So, what does a name mean?

Every December, the name Christmas is widely used. Unfortunately, too often, it is recognized as a holiday with the primary activity of giving gifts.

This, of course, is a good thing. But, if the real reason for Christmas is missed, it is arguably the greatest example of something good overriding the best.

A common phrase is "Jesus is the reason for the season". The Hebrew name of Jesus is Yeshua. Its meaning is "God delivers, saves, and rescues us through His servant Messiah".

Matthew 1:21 – And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. (KJV)

A challenge for each of us is to do everything that we can to ensure that the Name above all names is recognized as the real meaning of Christmas.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank You for giving us Your Son on the day that we celebrate as Christmas. As we give presents to others, may we realize that we are celebrating the greatest Gift of all. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Your stories gave me some quiet chuckles.

    Excellent contribution Vincent.
    Merry Christmas and stay safe.

    Great encouragement and humor, Vince. Be safe and enjoy the season.

    Thank you for the devotional. I always enjoy your real-life illustrations. Keep on writing!

    Thank you once more for an excellent devotional. We appreciate the mental images you give us.

    Thank you, Vincent, for the devotional today, I wish you and all of those at the home where you live a very Joyous Christmas.

    Thanks for your devotionals. Donna and I really enjoy the. Each month. Trusting you are keeping well and safe during these trying days. God bless.

    Very funny story about your brother and all the names. You’re right, it is so important to remember Jesus is the reason for the season especially with young people who often forget. Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

    Vincent, Thank you for sharing this timely, somewhat humorous, devotional with us. I think most of us can relate to a caregiver or parent’s loud call out using our full given name! That occurrence usually followed something that we failed to do, or broke, like an object or a rule. Blessings.

    What a lovely story about your brother’s talk. I was just talking to my sister yesterday about how special it is to hear our name spoken by a loved one. The sound of a loved one’s voice is like a gift from God – and when that voice speaks our name, well, it’s especially precious. May we pass on the name of Jesus correctly, and lovingly, and often. Bless you Vincent for all your reflections.

    Vincent, I have loved your Devotionals for a long time, and always look forward to reading them. This morning’s was particularly interesting on what’s in a name.
    I smiled to myself because when I first began reading your Devotionals and passing them on to friends, I referred to you as Walter Vincent.
    God Bless you and your family this Christmas.

    Dear Vincent:
    Thank you for reminding me of my own childhood memories. I won’t begin to tell you of all the trouble I got into before I even started school.
    The one memory I love especially when I need to feel the Lord’s presence, is of sitting in church and feeling Jesus around me and believing, just knowing He is real.
    Merry Christmas and have safe and very happy and healthy 2021.

    Hello Vince
    I really enjoyed the devotional, and it is so true about names. My 2 brothers’ names rhymed and yes, confusion when one was called so the younger one, for some reason got Joe.
    The best name of all is the name of Jesus and I look forward to the day that Jesus is a household name in the way it is supposed to be.
    God bless you and may you keep on shining for Jesus. Merry Christmas!

    Good morning Vincent,
    The importance of your name is how we are recognized by family and friends. You have woven a good devotional leading to the importance of Jesus who has many names in the Bible. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the cute story about when your brother came from Sarnia and spoke at the Sunday service.
    I have been going through the family albums and enjoying the good memories also. As we pray your prayer with you, help us to remember that we are celebrating the birth of “Christ” at “Christ”mas. I am glad that you share your thoughts with us.

    Love your stories and their interpretation.

    Vincent, thank you for your message. Yes, there is something special about a name, and you explained very well. Blessings to you for your work.

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