What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet;– William Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet
My birth certificate, my driver’s license, and every legal document I’ve ever signed show my name is Teressa. But when I’m with family, I’m rarely called by that name.
“… you will call him Jesus … “
“… they will call him Emmanuel …”from Matthew 1:21 & 23
Jesus is the name given to the baby whose birth Christians celebrate this time of year. But it’s not the only name he is called.
In the novels of The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin each character has a name known and used by others. But each also has a “true name” known to very few.
The names we use for one another matter. They carry connections to particular people. They may recall a specific place (my Girl Scout camp counselor name was “Louie”). They might speak to a season of life (nicknames of athletes on a sports team).
Names can be used to build up or tear down, as an endearment or a taunting, for expressing affection or ridicule.
Beloved, may you be called by name today – a name that strengthens your spirit and brings a smile to your face. And may every name you use for another be a word of encouragement.