What does it matter if our name is Sally, George, or Serena? When I was young, I always thought that names were just random names that were significant to the parents at the time of the child’s birth. As I have grown, I have learned a little more about the importance of the name that each child receives. You never know if you name your child Serena, she might actually turn out to be “serene” like my mother. With this in mind, beware of naming children Jezebel or Hitler.
While teaching a lesson at Compassion on attachment through making a baby book, we gave mothers the task of writing out the meaning of the name that they had given their child. Though many did not know at the moment, when they asked their families about it, the found great significance.
While spending some of my time in rural homestay, I was reminded once again of the importance of a name here in Uganda. Names depict experiences and realities that were happening at the time of your birth. One person I met had a name that meant “the moment when the visitor comes.” When I asked the mother about it, she told me that someone had come to visit them the moment the baby was born. Similarly, a child’s name can be affected by the child that they follow. If they follow a set of twins, they have a particular name. The importance of the child’s name continues on to adulthood as a circumstance such as having a set of twins, changes a name forever. A mother’s name immediately changes from “Marie” to “Nalongo”, or a father’s name from “Petros” to “Ssalongo.” On another note, when I spoke to a Muslim who had converted to Christianity, he mentioned that they changed their name to mark the event and to show that he is a new person.
What is our name? What is the meaning behind it? In Romans 9:26 it says that “we will be called ‘sons of the living God’.” How amazing that our name changes as well! We have had an experience, an event that has changed our name forever, even that name will be written in the book of life (See Revelations 2)! Even more important, who is Jesus? He is Emanuel- God is with us!