“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1

“Jesus looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’”  Luke 19:5

People put thought into naming their children.  Names are meant to honor – family and heritage, friends, heroes and leaders. 

My parents had not chosen a name for me.  I am named after the nurse caring for my mother when I was born.  Not thoughtful perhaps, but I am proud of my name(s).  I am addressed as Mom, Grandma, Aunt; “neighbor” (a friend down the street); “friend” (a previous coworker); “amiga” (a longtime friend with Hispanic heritage); “Little One” (my father, of course, until he died when I was 23). 

Some change their names – marriage, stage/career, past immigrants.  A friend told us her ancestors’ name was Oien.  Because there were so many Oiens they changed their name to Johnson. 

Countless names are lost to history.  Slave schedules listed gender and age, or simply hash marks.  Names were lost in “shipping” and subsequent transfer of ownership.  Infants were left in shallow graves on the prairie.  Soldiers were quickly buried in unmarked graves.  How many known but to God … known to God.

Isaiah said a child would be born.  He would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (9:6).  Joseph was told to name this new baby Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins.  (Matthew 1:21).  And so, my name became “Child of God” when I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Hmm … do others see a “family resemblance”?  Of course, I cannot LOOK like Jesus.  Might people see some connection in actions and speech?  

“The name of Jesus is so sweet.  I love its music to repeat.  It makes my joys full and complete,
The precious name of Jesus.

“Jesus,” oh, how sweet the name!  “Jesus,” ev'ry day the same; “Jesus,” let all saints proclaim
Its worthy praise forever.

No word of man can ever tell how sweet the name I love so well.  Oh, let its praises ever swell.
Oh, praise the name of Jesus.  Amen            

(W. C. Martin)

Verla Olson