What is the baby’s name?
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Being an only child, I remember saying to my wife that I wanted more than one child. Having the first was one of those truly life-changing and spiritual experiences. We had names picked out, one boy and one girl. When we knew what sex the baby was, we relaxed. We already knew his name.
But when number two came along, we panicked. Well, not too much but just enough because we had to come up with a boy’s name. It took some time but not enough to cause panic.
And when we knew it was a ‘he’ we again relaxed. We already knew his name.
Naming a child is a difficult task for some parents. There is peer pressure. We did not feel any pressure (or we really did not care what others thought) when it came to naming. I know that some parents spend hours and hours looking at names, “trying them on for size.”
We did not.
Neither did Joseph and Mary. They already knew their boy’s name. They was told was it was to be.
In some cultures names mean little other than to acknowledge family members (which is important). But in other culture, to name a child is an important task.
Names meant something in Joseph and Mary’s day (and just read the Old Testament, especially the book of Hosea, to find out just how important (and interesting) naming your children was to God! Would you call your child “Lo-ruhamah” which means Not loved’? Didn’t think so..)
“you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (NLT)
But I also think about, when it comes to names, Jacob…
yes the “Old Testament, pull-a-fast-one-over-on-me-will-ya,” Jacob.
He had a night of wrestling with an angel (some say God and I think he also wrestled with his conscience) before he faced his estranged brother.
In that night, he was changed and he was given a new name, a new identity…
“What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” Genesis 32:27-28
What is your name? What does God say that it is?