Names can make a difference. Parents give names to their children for various reasons. It may be a name they always liked. It may be a name that sounds good when coupled with their last name. It may be a name that captures an impression they have of whom that child is or a hope of whom they will become. Perhaps one of the more common practices is to give a family name that connects them to previous generations. (Apparently I missed out on having my grandfather’s middle name of Carl as my first name because I had a cousin who was already named Carl!)
Zechariah felt the pressure of passing on a family name to his newborn son. Instead, he gave him the name given by God (through an angel) which was John (which means “God is gracious”). As God-is-gracious grew up, he lived out his name by being the one pointing to the manifestation of God’s graciousness named Jesus.
Though we all have different names, as baptized Christians we all share one given name: Child-of-God. As God-is-gracious lived out his name, may we all find ways to live out our God-given name every day!
God of grace, give us a desire to live into the name you have given us. Amen. — PCH