The Circumcision and Name of Jesus
The Eighth Day of Christmas
January 1, 2012
(New Years Day)
The Lord be with you
For those who use the Gregorian calendar (all “western” countries that I know of) today marks the beginning of a new year. However, in reference to the Church Year, the new year began with the First Sunday in Advent. Today, eight days after we have celebrated the birth of Jesus, we naturally celebrate his circumcision and naming. In Jewish circles, baby boys were circumcised and given their names on the eighth day, and Jesus was a Jew.
Both our Lord’s circumcision and his name are related, for both tell of his mission as Savior. His circumcision was the first shedding of his blood, a foretaste of the cross where he earned our salvation. The name of Jesus means “Savior” as the angel said: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). In the circumcision of Jesus, all people are circumcised once and for all, because He represents all humanity. In the Old Testament, for the believers who looked to God’s promise to be fulfilled in the Messiah, the benefits of circumcision included the forgiveness of sins, justification, and incorporation into the people of God. In the New Testament, St. Paul speaks of its counterpart, Holy Baptism, as a “circumcision made without hands” and as “the circumcision of Christ” (Colossians 2:11).
Appropriate prayers for this day include for a deeper devotion to our Lord and a greater reliance on his saving power; for the cleansing of God’s people from sin; for reverence for the holy name of Jesus; for God’s blessing on the new year.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert