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A Rose By Any Other Name



Luke 2:15-21

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The Sermon

What is in a name? People are given names for a lot of different reasons. I know in my own family names are recycled. Jacob and John were popular on my mom's side and Herman was popular on my dad's side. Our sons Louie and Jimmy were named after their grandfathers.

American Indians would give an infant a first name that would relate to something in nature and as they grew, a new name would be given to them based on their experiences. In adulthood they might take on a different name based on even more experiences.

You probably have your own traditions. Not that many years ago it was common in the European culture to name children after something in nature. It could have been Rose or Lilly. My mother's name was Gay Lilly. The trend is coming back with two of the most popular names for girls this year being Lilly and Olivia.

What about Jesus' name? I looked it up on Wikopedia. The proper name Jesus /ˈdʒiːzəs/ used in the English language originates from the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), a rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua (ישוע), also having the variants Joshua or Jeshua. In a religious context the name refers to Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. In the Spanish cultural sphereJesús (pronounced IPA: [xeˈsus]) is a very common male personal  It means “God saves”

So, what are the origens of your names and what do they mean. I looked them up as well. Borrowing from a speech by Michelle Obama, “words are important.” If you know the meaning of your name, it has an effect on how you see yourself. Some of you in the congregation have names that relate to a flower. William's means desiring a helmet and mine translates to “Peaceful ruler.”

Nicknames say a lot about a person too. Some are not especially kind. I had a good friend who's nickname was Jug. I asked him how he got the name and he told me his friends told him he looked a lot like the Archies Comics character Jughead.

The most important take away from all of this is that names are important and words matter. Choose them wisely.

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