So, I was wondering –
how about you?
Have you ever wondered about biblical names? Some parents proudly name their children Joseph, Mary, or David, Stephen, Anthony, etc. And, if you are a little Catholic boy or girl, you get an extra saint name when you go through your confirmation. So, if you parents were having a bad day when you were born and forgot to give you a saintly name, you get another chance to choose to be Theresa, or Angela, or Patrick, or whatever, as long as the church has made that person a saint. Gotta have some standards. Can’t just name a kid with religious potential just any old name, willy-nilly.
When I went through the Confirmation process, I chose the beautiful name of Saint Theresa. I knew why at the time, but I would have to do some research to tell you, so you’ll have to do it yourself. By the way, it was a long time before I realized that Theresa wasn’t part of my legal name. Very disappointing.
I think I digress…
Back to my thoughts on biblical names…I thought this idea started this morning while I still rested in bed, trying to comply with my own mandate that I sleep in today. As soon as I wake each morning, I start thinking some weird stuff, one thing after another, and then I wonder where it all started. You know what I mean, right? Right?
I realize, now, that this all started on Christmas day, during Mass. Honest, I was really listening to the sermon. That’s why I’m here, now, writing this.
So, the priest was up there reading from Matthew 1, about who begat who in the 14x14x14 line of begetting, up to the point where Jesus was born in the house of David. After that, it didn’t matter who begat who. The Savior was born, and that’s why we have Christmas day and Mass and the tree, etc.
Now, I want to give some credit to the other disciples who mentioned all the major characters in the Bible, but it seems that Matthew was more thorough in his genealogy research, and they all don’t agree on who begat who, anyway, so who’s to say, right?
Well, there I sat in church, trying to keep up with all the begetting when what I really wanted was to hear some joyful news as that is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord. I expected to hear the priest say loudly at the beginning of the service, “Merry Christmas.” Wouldn’t you expect to hear that, really? Noooooooooo….
Then the Christmas service was over, and we had sang and prayed and the organist was sweating, and still no mention of Christmas from the priest. I began to wonder…were we being punished for even expecting him to say Merry Christmas? Was he depressed? Bad mood? Coal in his stocking?
All this left me with was to think about those almost unpronounceable names in Matthew 1. Have you heard them? Read them? Then, it dawned on me that the names we relate to, that we can pronounce are the boring names, like, David, Joseph, Anthony, Ann, John, etc.
Aha! I thought. These are all pivotal names. Names that signify big change. Was that all part of the big plan, or has someone been inking their own version of names in these holy writings. Now, I understand that mere humans wrote the Bible, so we know how we tend to favor certain names, and we writers know how one name works better than another, so I understand how they might have wanted to change some names around for the sake of understanding.
One funny thing about all this, some parts of what I am writing comes to me in the voice of George Carlin, crazy, weird comedian…just imagine him going through the list and stopping to pronounce DAVID in only the deep way he could…
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers, Perez and Zerah, Tamar, Hezron, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Rahab, Obed, Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram,
Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah,Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abihud, Eliakim,
Azor, Zadok, Akim, Elihud, Eleazar, Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
So why don’t we hear of any little Christian children named Zadok, Elihud, Zerubbabel, Uzziah, Shealtiel, Jehoshaphat ( is that jumping Jehoshaphat?).
Yep. I’d feel mighty sorry for the teacher and children in the kindergarten class when roll is called.
So, now I think I have my answer. We can’t pronounce or spell it, we don’t give it to our kids.
And, of course, we aren’t going to name our children, usually, for the bad guys in the old or new testament. Not too many Lucifers around these days. Cain isn’t a good choice, as his only fame is killing his brother, and helping to screw up the early years even more. However, Adam and Eve are well liked names; in spite of their mistake they are still seen as good folks.
I tell you, I am not trying to be sacrilegious or in any way defame anything biblical. It’s just that when my mind is not otherwise entertained or busy at work, it goes in strange directions. And, I notice the weirdest things and have to write or talk about them.
If this makes any impression on you, let it be to say, Merry Christmas when it is, and please don’t name your child Zerubbabel.
Have a great day