Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "In The Bleak Midwinter"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 1:21 – She will give birth to a Son; and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (NASB)
How do we get our names? All of us have a name, usually given to us by our parents, but sometimes changed for various reasons, such as in marriage.
Why was I given my names? Vincent is my first name, but I hope my parents weren't thinking of the great painter, Vincent Van Gogh, since my artistic abilities are virtually non-existent. Charles, my middle name, makes sense because that was my father's first name. I am often challenged by the memory of his example of integrity and determination in the face of difficult challenges.
Names are often used to call a person, but they can have a different meaning simply by a change in tone. I was usually called Vince or Vincent, but when I heard my mother say in a loud voice with an emphatic tone, "Vincent Charles!" I knew that I was in trouble.
Names can be confusing when duplicated. My oldest grandson was named Michael, soon to be called Mike. Years later, two of his cousins married boys with the same name. You can imagine the confusion at family gatherings when someone called, "Mike!" While all three have the same name, I can assure you that they are all very different. Now in my later years, where I live, one of my good friends is called Mike — the same name — but again, very different.
One of today's most prominent names is "Vladimir". Probably, you immediately add "Putin" and think of the current world problems. If you are a baseball fan, however, you might also add "Junior", since Vladimir Guerrero Junior is following his father's lead as an outstanding baseball star.
The Bible has many examples of name changes. In Genesis, Abram and Sarai were renamed Abraham and Sarah, and they became the parents of many nations. Jacob was renamed Israel; fisherman Simon was renamed Cephas or Peter. Saul the persecutor used his alternate name Paul when he led the development of Christianity.
I cannot meet the challenge given to Jesus when He was given the name meaning "to save His people from their sins". But I can strive daily to walk as closely beside Him as possible, sharing His love and helping others so that when my name is spoken, others will see even a small reflection of Him.
My challenge to you is to do likewise.
Prayer: Dear Father, we thank You for our names and the opportunity to strive daily to make our actions reflect the example of Jesus as closely as possible. We are grateful that He fulfilled the challenge given at His birth. In His name, we pray. Amen.