Happy New Year!
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 . . . which means “He will save His people.” -Luke 2:21
January is here. Time for New Year’s resolutions, right? Time for people to plan to stop eating this or that item. Time to follow the TV’s pledge to “make a new you” out of you, or you may have some other type of lifestyle change you are hoping to make.
New Year’s resolutions are interesting. I’m sure there are things we would like to see changed in ourselves. There is nothing necessarily wrong with seeing things in ourselves we would like to have changed and resolving to make that change. What is interesting though is how our church year approaches the New Year. The readings for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day do not concentrate on you making resolutions. The readings don’t concentrate upon you making yourself a “better you.” Our readings don’t focus upon some negative trait you might have and give you words of advice like some type of self-help guru. New Year’s Day is entitled, of all things, “The Circumcision and Naming of Jesus.”
It may sound a bit odd to think of the New Year as starting off with the circumcision of Jesus. We may not see how the circumcision of Jesus has anything to do with the start of a new year, but it does. The circumcision of Jesus has a lot to do with our New Year’s celebration and it has a tremendous amount to do with you.
When the baby Jesus was 8 days old, He was circumcised. This means a tiny piece of foreskin was cut off from Him. His flesh was pierced and blood was spilled. At 8 days old the baby Jesus, who took on our flesh in His incarnation, was already resolved to have His flesh pierced and to have His blood spilled. Already, at just 8 days old, Jesus was making a resolution to stay the course on a single path for you – a path that would ultimately lead Him to a cross where His skin would be pierced once more, only this time with nails. His blood would be spilled again, this time through a flogging, a crown pressed into His skull, nails in His hands and feet, and a spear in His side. Already at 8 days old, Jesus was making His New Year’s resolution – to save you from sin, death and the pow-er of the devil. Unlike us, who often start with great intentions in January and then fail around February, Jesus stayed the course for you! He never stopped His New Year’s resolution of being your savior and He never will.
Go ahead and make your New Year’s resolutions. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with them, but maybe add one – to grow closer to the Christ who resolved to save you from your sin through His sacrifice on the cross. This type of New Year’s resolution will never grow old, never fail, and will always satisfy!
The Lord be with you,