Most people who know me call me by the shortened form of my name. Although my birth certificate reads, Stanley Lee Seymour, most people call me Stan. An etymological search of Stan reveals that it is Old English in origin and means rocky meadow or from the stony field.
Etymology, however, had nothing to do with the selection of my name. Because my last name starts with an S, Mom and Dad thought it would be trendy for the first name of each of their children to start with an S. My older brother’s name is Steve and my younger brother’s name is Brad.
Before he was born Brad’s name was going to be Stuart, but Mom was already having trouble calling Steve, Stan, and Stan, Steve, so Stuart became Brad.
Had Mom continued her practice of using an S in the naming of her sons, Brad would have been Stuart; and, his name would carry the idea of one who is a guardian or steward.
Here, in America, we seem to be more ambiguous than rigorous when we consider the meaning of the name written on the birth certificate that labels our children for life.
This has not always been the case. In the biblical eras, names were pregnant with meaning and often prophetic in nature. The best example is the name that is above all names and the Old Testament descriptor assigned to Him: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Little did Mary know the angelic proclamation and the meaning of her son’s name would be as full of pain as it was promise: You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
When that babe lying in Bethlehem’s manger was named Jesus, it was not just a slip of the tongue or a casual moniker, it was a bold declaration: The Savior has been born.
May we all remember the reason for this season.