As we are reading the Christmas adventure again this year, I am amazed as I see more new things in it. One of the things I have learned somewhere this year is the significance of naming. We have been studying medieval history, and we noticed that when a young squire is knighted, the king gives him a new name. The significance of this is also seen in scripture. The one who does the naming is the one to whom the oath of fealty is sworn. In other words, he who names owns the loyalty and allegiance of him who receives the name. The boys and I have had fun watching the naming and renaming of men like Abraham, Jacob, Paul, and so on, and talking about how their new name reflected God's purpose for them and a change in their relationship to God.
The interesting thing to me is to see the same concept in the Christmas story. John the Baptist never belonged to anyone but the Lord. The Lord named him from the beginning. Jesus was also named directly by God. I have marvelled at the faith it took by the parents to follow through with the name given to them for their boys. John's name means "God is gracious," and Jesus of course means "salvation." Do you think maybe there is a connection between the names?
It is also my own personal belief that each of us was named by a sovereign God. Within each of our names is a glimpse of the purpose that God has already planned for us. We might not fully realize how God is working out that meaning in our life for a long time, but it is still there. This is just a personal belief of mine, but wouldn't it add an amazing dimension to God's character if He were that specific in our lives? Just something to think about.