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. – Luke 2:21
Names mean something. They tell others who we are. They give us a title by which people call us. They set us apart from others because no one has our name and our life. Even if we are John Smith or Mary Johnson, no one will ever be “that” John Smith or Mary Johnson, and so it goes with Jesus.
It was the covenantal tradition in the life of the Hebrew nation to circumcise a male infant on the 8th day. “This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations,...So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.” (Genesis 17:10-13) This minor operation left a mark that would remind the bearer that they have a God who has made a promise.
If you are a calendar person and like to count days, you will be able to recognize that January 1st is the celebration of the Holy Name of Jesus. That day is eight days from the day of His birth and so the church since the 6th century has celebrated January 1st as a special feast day. It was on that day that Jesus took upon His flesh the mark of the covenant of promise made to Abraham, of which He (Jesus Christ) was to be the fulfillment. Where, from the day the tomb was vacated by the risen Jesus, so the new circumcision of the heart was wrought into the world to be engraved upon us by His Spirit. It was on that day that His name was placed upon Him permanently. A Name which is above every other name. A name gifted to Him by the Father as that which will cause every knee in heaven, on earth and under the earth to bow. It is a name which actually does what it means – God saves! That was His name and that is the celebration we make on this first day of the New Year.
As you make your way through 2022, I wonder if this Name of Christ needs to be spoken ever more frequently in your midst to grant you hope and a reminder of the promise that God is yours and you are His. That this Name was placed on you in your baptism and no loss of reputation or disparaging of your name can change the fact that “your life is hid with Christ, in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
To glorify Christ and His name is to glory in Him for what He has done, but to also remind ourselves each day of the reality that “you are not our own; you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a) So, this New Year, in the midst of all the resolutions that we know we will break, rest upon the Holy Name of Jesus. For it is in that Name above all names that we find our rest, our victory, our joy, our crown; and the promise that comes with it will never be broken.