Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's in a Name?

We picked our childrens' names because we liked the way they sounded with our last name and because we liked their meanings.

I would never have guessed that choice might actually bestow upon those children certain characteristics and personalities, but of late, I am starting to wonder.

Lucas, chosen first, means "bringer of light." We could not have picked a more appropriate name for this bright, enthusiastic child. He brings light and life to so many situations with boundless curiosity, energy and a desire to engage others. He was our first child, answer to our prayers, and incredible blessing.

When it came to picking a name for our second child, we loved the sound of the name "Nicolas." I guess maybe we should have given a little more thought to its meaning: Leader of the People. No matter what the activity, he will chart his own path -- over, around, through, between any obstacles. He's more than happy to take the punishment for a poor choice than turn back when warned. Fearless, he charges forward with determination. In a two-year-old, I find this exhausting. In adulthood, I look forward to witnessing the heights he will reach.

Our sweet baby girl came last. Margaret was to be her middle name, in memory of Scott's mother, and we searched carefully to find a first name that was both beautiful and fitting. Hoping to cultivate some different options, Scott turned to an online baby-name forum, where a group of people obsessed with baby names provided pages of suggestions. In those pages, we found "Analise." The name means "grace" and "devoted to God." In her unconditional, undeserved love for us, our Analise is, certainly, God's greatest gift of grace. We can only hope she will experience the joy of a life devoted to God.

So, what do you think? Do your kids match their names? Does a person "rise to meet" the meaning of his/her name, or is it just coincidence? Does God whisper the name into our ears as we are searching?