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.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "The Birthday Of A King" (Lyrics)