What’s in a Name?

I celebrated Christmas with my piano teacher organization and piano students this past week. As the designated “Games Person,” one of the activities we do is figure out our “Elf Name.” Mine is “Angelic Angel Ears”. Some of the funnier ones have been “Sprinkle Twinkle Toes,” “Sprarkle McJingles,” and “Perky Jolly Holly.”
When I met my husband, Dave, I discovered that our first names meant the same thing in different languages. Dave’s name, David, in Hebrew, means “beloved,” and Amy, in Latin, means “beloved.” My name became my calling and purpose, living in such a way that I would be “dearly loved” by others.
In the Nativity story of Matthew 2:18-25, we find that Joseph is made aware of Mary’s condition, being pregnant by the Holy Spirit. A righteous man who cared for Mary and didn’t want to disgrace her, he decided to divorce her “secretly.” As Joseph slept that night, he was visited by an angel of the Lord with instructions about his care of Mary and the birth of her son. But what sticks out to me the most was the specific instruction: “You are to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.”
The day’s language was Greek, so Jesus, a Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, means “Yahweh saves.” Jesus’ purpose was clear in His name: He would rescue people from their sins and the eternal punishment they deserved. Those who followed Jesus are identified as His people. The angel of the Lord continued by quoting the prophet Isaiah (7:14): “…and they will name Him Immanuel.” Another name for Jesus, Immanuel, means “God with us,” identifying His purpose and His deity as the Son of God. Immanuel would dwell among His people.
God’s plan and purpose was made clear in the names of His Son, Jesus, Immanuel. A name you can depend on and put your trust in. A name above all names (Phil. 2:9)…bringing glory to God as the mediator between God and man.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel.