“And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord.’” (1 Samuel 1:20)
In 1 Samuel 1:20, we read how Hannah conceived and bore a son. It takes only one sentence to describe this turning point in the story. But then an important detail is mentioned: Hannah gave her son a meaningful name that acknowledged God’s goodness. This name was a witness towards others and a reminder to Hannah herself that this child was a special gift of God.
The gospel of Luke contains a similar story. It describes an elderly couple called Zechariah and Elizabeth. Luke remarks: “Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old” (Luke 1:7, ERV). But one day, when Zechariah was on duty as a priest, an angel of the Lord announced the birth of their son: “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord” (Luke 1:13-15).
When the child was born, the neighbors were astonished that he was not named after his father Zechariah. But no, this special child got the name announced by the angel, meaning “the Lord is gracious”. His name was a reminder of God’s grace.
How do you express your thankfulness when God has been gracious to you?