I have always been fascinated with names.
Dating Jeff, I didn’t even realize his name was not Jeff after 8 months and until receiving a call from his family and they were looking for Ronnie.
When Jeff and I were married we didn’t have much money as Jeff was going to school and I was just starting out. With having such a big family with 6 siblings and Jeff with 3 brothers and my older siblings having many children, Christmas gifts took a big chunk out of our tight budget. Now I may be thrifty or sentimental. So I looked for a way to make gifts for my family and through that experience I turned to family history. The gifts I chose to give were old family pictures, family stories, photo quilts, photo albums, and gifts related to the family. Not everyone thought it was a great item until their children had to complete their 4th grade project on their family history.
As I gave more of these gifts I became the family genealogist and was given boxes of family photos, genealogy records, birth certificates, newspaper clippings, obituaries, wedding announcements, keepsakes, etc. I came to find the importance of who I was, who my family was, what was important and the importance of a name.
Each of my children were named after a family member. For my oldest daughter, I told my husband I was pregnant on our trip to Germany and he promised his ill grandmother Johanna that our child would be named after her. My son took the name of my grandfather John Taylor and Lizzie received the name after both of her grandmothers Elizabeth Anne. When my children turned 12 and were able to go to the temple to do baptisms, they did the work for a departed family member who they were named aer.
My mother shares that in naming me she liked the name of Christina Maria which dad insisted on a more English version of Kristine Marie. My name comes from latin for a Follower of Christ and I am grateful to have this name.
Susan Easton Black shares about the names a person receives with covenants-I have found it interesting that in the scriptures a new name is often involved when a covenant relationship is formed. When Adam and Eve were given dominion over the earth (see Gen.1:28), Adam was given the responsibility of naming the animals (see Gen. 2:19-20). Likewise, in receiving Eve as his wife, Adam named her. (See Gen.3:20) God himself, after creating bodies for our first parents, "blessed them, and called their name Adam." (Gen. 5:2).
Later, when Jehovah entered into a covenant relationship with Abram, he changed Abram's name to Abraham and Sarai's name to Sarah. (see Gen. 17:5). The Lord did the same thing with Jacob when He extended to Jacob the same covenant He had made with Abraham. (See Gen. 35:10). He also change Saul to Paul when he was converted of he Lord.
We follow a similar pattern when entering into covenants with Christ in the waters of baptism. At that time, we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and that becomes the name by which we are called. (See Mosiah 5:7-12). The higher covenants of he temple also involve the giving and receiving of names.
In each of these cases, the one giving the name assumes responsibility for protecting, loving, and nurturing the one receiving the new name. And the recipient of the name, in turn, is to honor the name giver and follow his counsel. So as I reflect on renewing my baptismal covenants and have taken upon me the name of Christ, what does the name of Christ mean to me?
Prophet Russell M Nelson shares this example. "At a crucial moment in his life, "Jacob wrestled with a serious challenge. His agency was tested. Through his wrestle, Jacob proved what was most important to him. He demonstrated that he was willing to let God prevail in his life. In response, God changed Jacob's name to Israel, meaning let God prevail. "God then promised Israel that all the blessings that had been pronounced upon Abraham's head would also be his " (Russell M. Nelson, "Let God Prevail." Oct. 2020) Taking this new name was a sign of receiving the covenant his father and grandfather had received.
When we are baptized, we make similar covenants. We also show that we are willing to take upon ourselves a new name-the name of Jesus Christ. In addition, we become part of the house of Israel-we are those who have made covenants with God and have promised to "let God prevail" in their lives. God then promises us the same blessings He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So how does the names of Christ make us feel? My first year attending the Creche I studied the tree and included on the tree were the names of Christ – Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace, etc. The names of Christ have always given me comfort. Those names are included in Christmas hymns, listening to the Messiah or seeing Christs many names in scriptures.
When attending seminary I remember Larry Johnson my seminary teacher challenging me to find Jesus Christ when we studied the Old Testament. The Old Testament foretells of Christ and his mission but the name of Jesus Christ is not in the Old Testament as he is called by many other names. So as we read the scriptures this year you must look for his many other names, miracles or purpose in life to find him. Parts of the Old Testament have always been difficult for me. Many of the scriptures I have read several times cover to cover but not the Old Testament. While this year has been filled with many more time commitments in my life, I have completely enjoyed reading and learning from Come Follow Me and the many podcasts of those who help us with those studies.
Dr. Ross D. Baron – Is a professor at BYU and teaches Isaiah. While his study manual is the scriptures he has a preterm assignment which is to locate the names of Christ. How the students gain such a greater insight understanding all of the names of Christ. There are many names of Christ which you might find in the scriptures or on the tree at the Creche. How can we take upon us the Name of Christ?
Learn what Christ means to you personally and how can the Name of Christ save us.
Learn how if we follow Christ and take on his Divine Attributes we become disciple of Christ.
Be a witness and share the Light of Christ in bringing others to Christ.
When you partake the sacrament which Name of Christ do you need? Some describe Christ’s Divine Mission: Do you need Christ as your Savior, Redeemer, Messiah, Creator, Only Begotten Son, Christ, Messenger of the covenant, Holy One of Israel, the Resurrection and the Life, the Deliverer, God of the Whole Earth?
Some describe his Divine Attributes. Can we learn from Him on how to develop these same attributes - Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, The Way, the Truth and the Life, the Light of the World, Meek and lowly, the Word, Just One, Justice, Mercy, Faithful and True, Rock of Salvation, Spirit of Truth, Rock of Righteousness, Hope of Israel.
Some identify Christs Positions or Title- Babe in a Manger, Son of Man, Only Begotten son, First Born, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Seed of Abraham, Prophet, Teacher, Advocate, Mediator, Judge, Master.
Some describe his life or what he has to give us- Bread of Life, Living Water, True Vine, Bridegroom, Bright and Morning Star, I Am, Lamb of God, Good Shepard, Lord of the Sabbath, Lord both of dead and living, Chief Cornerstone, Alpha & Omega, first and the last, Finisher of Our Faith.
As you partake of the Sacrament and pier his life this week, what name of Jesus do you, your family or ministering brother or sister need in their life?
Its amazing getting to know all of the great members of this ward and sometimes we only see the outer acts but I have also come to find out that there are other challenges that we don't see whether it is wavering faith, mental or physical health challenges, financial struggles, death of loved ones, loneliness and so much more. Elder Rasband said. “Christ is there for each person whether they falter or press forward. “He loves us in our brightest and our darkest hours,”
As we come each Sunday, during this month of Gratitude and Thanksgiving, or celebrate the birth of our Lord this Christmas season may we seek Jesus, as the Nephites did, we receive a witness of His divinity, we desire to follow His example, we recognize His power and His mission to atone for each one of us, that we may have eternal life,”
The witness of his divinity, however, must come personally to each of us—we cannot rely exclusively on the testimonies of others. The conviction that Jesus is the Christ occurs only when God, the Eternal Father, manifests the truth of it “by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moro. 10:4.) To the prayerful and the sincere, the Book of Mormon bears a powerful testimony that “Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.”
I know this church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Christ. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and restored the Church of Jesus Christ. I know that we have a living prophet today that receives revelation today for us. Christ loves each of us and wants us to walk the covenant path so we can return to our Heavenly Father. I say this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.