The first day of the year is known by several titles. The most obvious, of course, is January first. The next most obvious is the name “New Years Day.” In the church, the first day of the year is also the 8th day of Christmas (Eight Maids a Milking – a reminder of the eight beatitudes). And it is also a festival known either as the Circumcision of Jesus or the Name of Jesus. It remembers the time when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple for circumcision and the declaration of his name. This event can be found in St. Luke 2: 21-38.
The naming of Jesus, while an established Jewish liturgical event, was also a public event. His name was spoken out loud by Mary and Joseph. In Luke’s account the man Simeon proclaimed that Jesus is the one who is a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory of Israel. And the prophet Anna praised God, to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Now, in this new year, make it a point…resolve if you wish…for you also to speak the name of Jesus publicly. Make it a point to share how the name of Jesus helps you, speaks to you, saves you from the power of sin and death. Make it a point to share the name of Jesus and how it is proclaimed and worshiped at Holy Spirit. Make it a point to share the name of Jesus through your witness, service and stewardship.
Let us all resolve to live, act and bear witness in the name of Jesus, sharing his love in word and deed. By this mission may this congregation be known to all who encounter it.