Today (4.14.15) my father would have turned 100 years old. Instead, he’s enjoying eternity with Jesus. His name was Italo Macchia…no middle name. Italo means “son of Italy” – it doesn’t get much more Italian than that! When I was born, he wanted me named “Italo Oscar Macchia” (Oscar was my much beloved maternal grandfather). Thankfully, Mom said no to that idea. I’m profoundly grateful. I can’t imagine how different my life would have been if I wasn’t Stephen Anthony.
Our names mean so much to us. They are indeed a big part of our identity. Try renaming yourself just for fun and you’ll see what I mean. Imagine yourself as a Julia or a Joseph, a Rachel or a Rueben. Something about being called a wrong name simply makes you twitch! Instead, let’s be glad we have the names we have. They fit us well…or, we fit them well.
When I reflect on the Bible, and recount my favorite stories, I think of the names of people I revere. Adam. Noah. Joseph. Moses. Ruth. David. Isaiah. Nehemiah. Habakkuk. John. Peter. Barnabas. Paul. Mary. Each name brings up storylines and character traits, failures and accomplishments. And I thank God for each of them, windows into my own life story.
What about you? What is it about your name that defines who you are as a uniquely created child of God? Who in the Bible do you most appreciate, and why? What does the name Christian mean to you in this ever growing religiously pluralistic world we inhabit?
Behold the One who knows you by name and loves you with an infinite, matchless love. Believe once more that He holds your life safely in the palms of His loving hands. Belong to the lineage of generations who love their adopted name Christian. Become the fullness of your own name, as well as the meaning and purpose your life is designed to fulfill.