01 January 2003

On the Church Calendar...

...New Year's is the commemoration of the circumcision of Jesus, eight days after Christmas, sometimes called "Holy Name" since Jewish children typically received their name at circumcision.

And this seems fitting. New Year's is a time of transition, when the old becomes the new, when we reflect upon the past and evaluate how it will shape the future, what new things will be begun, and what might best remain left behind.

As Jesus was circumcised, he was initiated into the covenant that God had made with Abraham and his seed and received the name "Jesus"--Yahweh is Savior. That circumcision would culminate in the circumcision of the Cross, in which Jesus' own flesh would be definitively cut off and he would enter, in the resurrection, into the New Creation as our Savior. Circumcision, and the name given then to our Lord, marked his entire life of one of transition: the passing away of the Old and its transformation into the New.

And we are incorporated into that transition when we are baptized into that Name and Jesus becomes our Savior and we enter into his New Creation. New Year's, then, is a time to recall our baptisms into the circumcision of Christ (Colossians 2:11-15) and, in light of that, becomes a time to press forward in all things made new in Christ.

    Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.