Hope you’re having a Merry Friday!
It just doesn’t seem right that only one day out of the year gets to be called the “merry” one! Why not sing, “We wish You a Merry Friday”? Or "Have Yourself a Merry Little Friday"? When the prodigal son came home, the overjoyed dad “began to make merry”. I think He still is! So we can “make merry” everyday! As the father says at the end of the story, “It’s right that we should make merry and be glad…!”
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about names and where they come from. I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ names and what they mean (like Emmanuel, Messiah, the Lion of Judah, the Morning Star), and it’s made me wonder about our names and how we got them. In the Bible, usually names mean something. It isn’t like now when we name our kids names that we like because…we just like them! Sometimes, we like them because they sound good. “Lyle Lovett…Lois Lane…Luna Lovegood…”
Some times we like certain names because they’re popular.
Did you know that of all the thousands of possibilities of names folks could have named their boys from the Pilgrims to today (or at least since they've been tracking this stuff) only thirteen names have held the top spot as "the most popular name for boys in America"?! Once they hit #1, they tend to hold on!
(Wow! I just looked up the Mayflower passenger list! There was a boy named "Truelove", one named "Wrestling", and a girl named "Remember" and a girl named "Humility" Wonder why "Truelove" didn't stick?)
“Emma” is the most popular name for American girls, according to the Social Security Administration office. It just recently bumped “Emily” which clung to first place for years! “Liam” is the winner for boys. Really popular right now are girls’ names that start with a vowel and end in “a”…”Emma…Olivia (#2)…Ava…Isabella…Sophia…” Boys names that are hot are names with two syllables and end in “n”…”Aaden"…"Owen"…"Logan"… and "Ethan"(#3) and "Mason" (#4). (Did you know "Mason" is number four in America?)
In four years “Chloe” has soared from the 667th most popular name to #15 today! Gives you a nosebleed to think about that jump!
One really hot trend in names is the “mashup” name, where you take part of the mom and part of the dad’s name and mash ‘em together, like Bennifer and Brangelina.
I’m glad it wasn’t the thing in the ‘50’s! “George”…”Pat”…My name would be “Geort”!
I found out last week that my name is in 63rd place in America but is number 6 in England! Jolly good!
I was shocked to learn that “Lee” peaked out at 273rd place in 1900! Only hits the 674th spot today! We’re blessed to have one of the rare ones! And an awesome one!
Some names aren’t as popular as they used to be. In 1930, “Milton” was the 73rd most popular name for baby boys. Today, it’s 817th! How many Miltons do you know? Or Mildreds? It was #6 on the name hit parade in 1910! Today, it’s not in the top 1000! Those are awesome names but I always thought that some names seem a little "old" for a new-born baby. "Milton" or "Mildred" seem like names you have to grow into.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what your name is because at a certain point you might be one of those folks who have some nickname that just sticks. Then that becomes your name. It's super cool because usually it's a name no one else has and you get it because people love you in some special way. Y'all know Thomas Stephen as "Potts". It comes from a t-shirt he got from Knottsberry Farms in California. We all called him Pottsberry when we were little. But his brother loves him so much that he calls him lots of names...Zinny...Zill...and if you listen close, you'll hear him called out, "Feeeeeeee!" It's a "name that no one know but he who receives it".
That phrase comes from Revelation 2. It says one day, Jesus is going to give you a "white stone that has a new name written that no one knows but he who receives it." He has a nickname for you that no one will have but you. Because there will be no one else like you! He loves you in a special way. He's making you into the "You" that no one else will or could ever be but you!
Maybe we don't know His special name...His nickname...for each of us because we're not quite that person yet. Maybe it’s a name like Milton or Mildred…it doesn’t quite fit babies or kids. Maybe you have to grow into it. We're on our way, but we still have a lot of growing to do. It's the major reason that Christmas isn't always "the mooost wonderful time of the year." We still get our feelings hurt sometimes. We still have expectations of people we shouldn't have. We still say stupid, hurtful things.
Even at Christmas.
But one day, all Christmases will be amazing! Nothing but "love and joy come to you!" and "peace on earth, goodwill to all!" When one day we all grow into the ones we are destined to be! And you get the awesome Christmas present of a little white rock with the name written on it that we'll all call you then!
So...Merry Christmas, Milton! And Mildred! Wherever (or better yet, whenever) you are!