Family Talk: Lives aren't determined by name
When a child is born they always get a name. Maybe you were named for a song (like my sister, Linda) or a deceased relative (like me). Maybe your parents had a sense of humor and named you Abcde (an actual child's name, pronounced Ab-city).
This time of year, we generally read the Christmas story in Luke 1 and 2 where we learn the angel Gabriel announced not only the birth, but also the names of two cousins, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. It's a special thing to be named by an angel.
Still, their names were fairly common for that era. John: Pretty plain. Jesus: Pretty simple. I've always kinda liked my name, Jim, but often thought it was a little too common. It's a 1950s kind of name without much pizzazz. Sometimes I've wished my parents had named me Lincoln or Kennedy.
The births of baby boys, John and Jesus, were accompanied by astonishment and questions. When John's upcoming birth was announced, his father, Zacharias, asked the angel, “How can this be, for my wife and I are old?“ When Jesus' birth was announced, Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, for I am a virgin?” And scripture says when John was finally born his parents and neighbors were all astonished and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?”
Our names might be common, like Jesus and John, but our lives hold great potential, as did theirs. Over the course of our lives, “What will this child be?” becomes “What will this teen — or adult — be?” The good news is we get to choose. Regardless of our background or upbringing. Irrespective of the ZIP code in which we were born. God places within us — as he did with John and Jesus — the potential to serve him and mankind.
Who will you be? You get to choose.
Jim Priest is CEO of Sunbeam Family Services and can be reached at email@example.com.