New Year’s Day
The Festival of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus
On our calendars, today is listed as January 1, or, New Year’s Day. On the church calendar it is listed as “The Name of Jesus.” This is the eighth day after Jesus’ birth, the day on which Jewish boys were circumcised and given their legal name. Circumcision was the Old Testament sacrament whereby God brought a newborn into his family of faith and included him in his covenant (promise) to send a Savior. (You can see similarities to baptism, the New Testament sacrament of initiation.) Circumcision was normally performed in the home by a visiting rabbi. Jesus’ circumcision is another indication that he was indeed the promised Savior who came to shed his blood for us. When the angel Gabriel announced his birth to Joseph, the angel explained, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21) Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, which means, “the Lord saves.” As we bask in the continuing joy of Christmas, this morning we remember that this special child in Bethlehem was born to be our Savior, a wonderful comfort as we head into the new year of 2023.
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