Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Meaning of a Name

While listening to Christmas music in the car the other day, Sophie asked me what Emmanuel means. She had heard the name used several times in different carols and songs we had been singing and listening too. I explained that it was another name for Jesus and we talked about all the different names he has gone by or called in the scriptures. My husband of course knew the exact meaning of the name, which is "God is with us". The kids got all excited about the meaning of names and they each wanted to know the meanings of their names. So we went through each one, explained the meaning and then discussed why we had chosen that name.

Sophia was given two names which belonged to a great grandmother on each of our sides. Her first name means Wisdom and her middle name means Light. We didn't know at the time but we gave very appropriate names to this smart, radiant, energy filled girl.

Ian is a Celtic (Scottish) version of the name John which means "God is Gracious". I always tell Ian that his Dad picked out his names. We had such a hard time finding the right boy name and even in the hospital we couldn't decide so finally I just looked at my husband and told him to choose. Ian was one of the names on our list when Sophie was expected. It isn't exactly a family name but there certainly are a lot of men named John in our family history. My husband also picked a good celtic middle name for Ian too. Ian is a rather new name for both sides of our family which usually stick to what my sister calls "prairie names". This just means we have usually stuck to traditional names and spellings and such.

Henry was a name I choose, but I often say Sophie named Henry. Again we were having a hard time picking out a name for another boy and went back through our family history and baby books to find names we liked. Henry was on my list when we were expecting Ian but my husband kept saying he didn't really like it. He wanted George or Gordon. I wasn't happy with either of those so we left it up to Sophie, who promptly pointed out that all of them on the list were names of Thomas trains (Thomas was on the list too). But Soph decided he was going to be Henry so even when there were months to wait for him to come we were calling him Henry (My husband kept thinking we would change it when the baby actually came). We had a number of people tell us we shouldn't give such an old fashioned name to our new little baby. That he would hate us later in life or that it would somehow traumatize him. Once he was here he certainly has lived up to his name which means "ruler of the home". The name just seems to fit him and his personality.

Molly was never a name on our list until she was on her way. Henry was going to be Evelyn if he had been a girl. We just always new Ian was going to be a boy so never had a girls name picked for him. Sophie was either going to be Ian or Cedric and we had briefly considered the name Anna when she was expected. For some reason, this time around, I really liked the names Mary, Miriam or Margaret. Molly is a nickname for Mary and Miriam. And when I read the book Wives and Daughters, Molly Gibson explains that she was named Mary after her mother but when her mother lived she was always called Molly. I loved the name ever since. Molly or Mary has a disputed meaning but the one I like best is "wished for child". Once we talked about the meaning of her name my older kids have been calling Molly "wished for child". We talked about how after Henry was born we thought we may be done having children. Henry wasn't the easiest of babies and living where we do is so expensive we thought three was all we could afford. Some of the people around us think we were crazy even to have a third. But we still felt like there was supposed to be one more. So we waited for the fourth to come. The others had all come two years or so apart but no new baby was coming. Sophie kept asking and even praying for a sister. As time passed we thought maybe God had other plans, until finally Molly decided to make her appearance. So she truely is a "wished for child".

We had such a great discussion about names and how each of their names was chosen. We have talked about them several times since. We did run into a problem though. Grandma likes to give the kids Christmas ornaments with their names on it. This week when we went to decorate the tree the kids were pulling out their ornaments. They each have a little baby cradle with their name and birth date on it. Then there are several more for Sophia and Ian and even me and my husband. Molly was given her little cradle and one more with her name on it from Grandma today. But for some reason she can never find ornaments with the name Henry on it. It isn't a strange name but I guess in such little use that you can't find it. It is going to be my project in the next few days to see if I can find an ornament with his name on it. He was a little disapointed when the others got to hang up ornament after ornament with their names on it and he didn't. We purposefully made ornaments this year and put our names on them, so at least he has that one.

I am glad my kids are happy with their names. It is hard to pick just the right names for your children. We tried really hard to pick names they would be proud of and it is amazing how each name, even though they are given before you really know them, fit their personalities.

p.s. Close up pictures of ornaments really show off our plastic, fake Christmas tree. It certainly isn't authentic looking or smelling but it has been a great tree. 5 Christmas seasons already and hopefully more to come!


Andrea said...

Great post and special names. What lucky little kids you have. :0)

Bibliophile said...

I love the names you've chosen for your children. They fit them very well.