Letter to My Nephew

Dear Corbin,

Hey kiddo. I’m your Aunt Jen. We baked muffins together once. Last time I saw you—wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you—we played with trains.

I was thinking today about your name and about how perfectly it fits you.

A long time ago, in a land far away (a real place, mind you, just a distant place) God’s people offered sacrifices. In a sacrifice, a person would bring something very valuable and give it to God. Sometimes they brought animals, sometimes grain, sometimes money.

If a person loved God very much, he would also love to make sacrifices.

Here’s why: When a person came to God with a sacrifice, God would actually come down and meet him. God’s people believed that in the act of sacrifice, the walls between God and man came down. They even had a word for sacrifice that meant “to come close.” That word was “Korban.”

Your name comes from that word and it carries with it the excitement and wonder of God’s leaving Heaven to “come close” to his people, to rub up against them, to dwell with them.

Another thing you may not know yet, although you’re very smart, is that a long time ago God required parents to offer their first boys up to God as sacrifices—not exactly like the animals or the grain, but still. Parents would sacrifice an animal on behalf of their son, and while the animal was the one who would die, the boy was given over to God’s service. Parents gave their first sons to God, and that sacrifice drew them closer to Him.

I hope you see yourself in this picture, the first son who, in his consecration, draws his family closer to God. I’m not even your mom, and still I feel God more palpably when you’re around. Plus, I know your parents pretty well, and I’m certain they’re more God-like now that you’re here.

I pray that in seeing and speaking and spelling your name you’ll always be reminded of your identity, your having been devoted to God, and your ability to bring God close to others.

I love you, Corbin.

-Aunt Jen