Welcome to the world, Jovelle Mercy Winkler! Jovelle (rhymes with “bell”) was born last Sunday night (March 13) at 8:27 p.m. She weighed 7 lbs 15 oz. and was 20 3/4 inches long. Christie and Jovelle are both doing great.
So why Jovelle Mercy? We debated and debated about a name for our precious little girl, and we finally decided on a name that we’ve been carrying around since before Judah was born. It’s a name we’ve come back to again and again, despite some disadvantages (like the fact that she now has the same initials as Judah and people might think we’re one of THOSE families 😉 ), and after much prayer, it’s the name to which the Lord kept bringing us back.
One day in a Bible study, we came across the word yobel, a Hebrew word that means “shofar” (the ram’s horn used like a trumpet). Joshua, Gideon and Joab all led the children of Israel with the shofar. It announced good news, alerted or warned of danger, and called to battle and action. When it sounded, the people were to assemble, worship, confess, and repent. It is still used in Judaism to call the people to accountability on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). We read in Zechariah 9:14 that the Lord Himself will blow the shofar to call His people. In the New Testament, we read that angels will use the trumpet to announce the warnings for the “end times” and, ultimately, Christ’s return.
The shofar was also blown to signal the start of the Year of Jubilee–a holy year and one that is a time to proclaim freedom. (See Leviticus 25 for more on the Year of Jubilee.) We are not sure of the evolution of the words but somewhere along the line, yobel and yovel came to be known as “jubilee.”
We took the liberty of feminizing the word and making it into a name – thus, Jovelle. The short answer for what her name literally means is “jubilee.” On a deeper level, our hope and prayer is that, just as the Year of Jubilee was a year of holiness and freedom, just as the shofar was used to call to repentance and worship, Jovelle will grow into a woman who strives after holiness and who calls others to do the same, proclaiming freedom that is only found through the Messiah, and that she will reflect the mercy and lovingkindness of the Lord in her interaction with others.
Now the challenge is to raise Jovelle in such a way that she can live up to such a lofty name, and we covet your prayers as we strive to do so!