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January 2011!!! Whatever happened to 2010?  It’s gone and we have been given a New Year.  What shall we do?  If you look in the front of The Book of Common Prayer, page 16: 3. Holy Days, you will find the very first one to be listed is The Holy Name; the complete title of the day is The Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  This is new to the 1979 revision of the Prayer Book.  Previous Anglican Prayer Books called it the Feast of the Circumcision. January 1st is the 8th day after Christmas Day, and as accorded in the Gospel of Luke (2:21)

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

As written in the book, Holy Women, Holy Men, Celebrating the Saints, (printed by Church Publishing):

“The Law of Moses required that every male child be circumcised on the eight day from his birth (Leviticus 12:3); and it had long been the custom to make of it a festive occasion, when family and friends came together to witness the naming of the child.”

Perhaps you never thought of spending New Year’s Day celebrating the naming of Jesus.

Even today some cultures set aside a day for the naming of a child but Jesus’ day it was a practice honored in the Temple.  Again, quoting from the above mentioned book:

The early preachers of the Gospel lay stress on the name as showing that Jesus was a man of flesh and blood, though also the Son of God, who died a human death, and whom God raised from death to be the Savior (Acts 2:32; 4:12). The name was given to Jesus, as the angel explained to Joseph, because he would “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Our prayer this day:

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.

***A Reminder: Bishop Brian Prior will be our guest preacher and celebrant this Sunday, January 2, 2011.  Please join us for this special visit from the Bishop as he reflects on his first year of episcopacy in Minnesota.*** 

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