Have you ever stopped to wonder about the beauty and power of a name?
Each name has a story.
Maybe you were named after a grandparent, your mom’s best friend, or a character in your dad’s favorite movie.
Or perhaps you weren’t named after anyone at all.
It could be that your name came after months of debating seemingly countless options, or in a pressured moment of decision a day or two after you were born.
Perhaps your name’s origin is largely unknown, its significance lost to you.
Regardless of the details of the story, your name and its story are uniquely your own.
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The Sound Of One’s Name
Just the sound of one’s name commands immediate attention.
I imagine it has always been so.
A gently whispered name brings a feeling of peace and causes us to draw closer, while it’s universally known that the sound of one’s full name being called out in tones of frustration from the other end of the house can only mean one thing. Trouble.
The sound of one’s name being announced at a graduation ceremony brings a sense of pride, while the same name being spoken over the marriage altar brings untold happiness.
So many emotions linked to one little name.
The Sight Of One’s Name
Nothing says “We’ve been expecting you!”, “You are welcome here!”, and “We’ve saved a seat just for you!” more than the sight of your name printed on a place card, nestled right up next to your place setting at the table.
I’d like to think that the table Christ will one day prepare for us–the table He has invited us to feast at alongside Himself and countless others–will be dotted with place cards. What better way for us to know, deep down in our souls, that Christ was expecting us all along, that we are welcome to sit with Him at his table, that He has saved a place just for us. In my mind’s eye, there will be no random seats around His table–no casual seating for miscellaneous persons who happen to make their way, last minute, to the feast. Each person’s name is known to Christ and He loves calling us by name.
And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. (Exodus 33:17)
…Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
As we wait in anticipation for the day we will one day sit with Christ at His table, we can, in the meantime, prepare similar tables of our own—personalized tables with names.
A Special Place At The Table
Over the years, our family has adopted the tradition of using place cards during special occasions and even, occasionally, during ordinary meals throughout the week. We keep a small box filled with place card-making materials in the linen closet next to the tablecloths. My children enjoy using markers, crayons, stickers, and other embellishments to personalize each place card. For further personalization, they have taken to writing a special message for each recipient on the inside of each place card; sometimes it’s a sweet compliment, other times a simple word that best describes that person, such as “kind”, “fun”, or “creative”. Regardless of the message, it always leaves the recipient with a smile on their face. We’ve found that these place cards are the best possible ice breaker when sitting down to enjoy a meal with others.
All these words and more linked to one little place card.
The Power Of One’s Name
I love it when people address me by name in emails and texts. When my name is omitted, it feels more like a generic, group message than a personal message meant for just for me.
A simple “Hey there, Carri!”, “Thank you, Carri!” or “Have a great day, Carri!” helps me know that they were, in fact, thinking of me for those few brief moments.
Each of us has a name. Perhaps we can be more proactive in speaking and writing the names of those around us when opportunities arise.
Greater happiness and connection lie in store for us when we do, for there truly is beauty and power in each name.
Day 30 Challenge: Seek opportunities this week to address others by name in person, in an email or text, or on a specially made place card. Stock up on supplies and let the children make place cards while you make dinner.
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This is Day 30 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days to an Authentic Life.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please click HERE.