December 14 – Luke 1:57-66. What’s In A Name?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 14 – Luke 1:57-66. What’s In A Name?

When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 

They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 

Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

When you were choosing names for your children (or if you will be, or when your parents did), what were the things you looked for in a name?  I have absolutely no idea why my parents came up with Diane.  Mom said it was just a name she liked.  My middle name doesn’t come from family … but, as to this story … it works nicely since my middle name is Elizabeth.

Carol got a unique name for the family, but her middle name is the same as my mother’s.  My brother’s first name came from my mother’s father and from my father’s brother.  Dad’s middle name was Lester, the same as his father’s, and he couldn’t imagine saddling his son with that name.

Names still tend to be handed down from family member to family member.  A Jewish friend of mine told me that they couldn’t name their children after a living family member because it brought bad fortune on both, but to name the child after someone who had died was a great honor.

The baby was born and about to be circumcised and named.  When Elizabeth named the child John, no one could believe it.  After they had waited all these years to have a child, the least they could do was give it a family name.

But, God had a plan for this child and wanted his name to be John.  As soon as Zechariah declared that it was so, his voice returned. Luke tells us that his first words were those of praise.

A child given a name outside of family tradition. A father who begins to speak again after the naming.  No wonder the people of Judea were curious about what would come of this child!