Friday, January 1, 2010

The Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ

Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
(1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV)

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. (Luke 2:21 NIV)

Over the last few years of observing the Advent season, I have discovered that to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas is not accomplished by singing the familiar song, but by continuing to reflect on Christ’s birth and early childhood over the twelve days following Christmas Eve culminating in a celebration of Epiphany on January 6th.

In my Advent devotion book, January 1st and the 8th day of Christmas coincide, which is no coincidence. The eighth day is also a significant time in a Jewish child’s life. This is the day his parents have him circumcised, as well as give their child his name. It is appropriate that on this first day of a new year that we acknowledge the Name of the one who gave life to us. Instead of focusing so much on my own goals, and how I will better my name this year, I want to “ascribe to Jesus, the glory due His name.”

In my reading today, Walter Wangerin shares a prayer that expresses my heart as I reflect on this season, and look toward the newness of this year:

There has grown in me this year again a genuine joy, O Jesus. A personal, deep down, inexpressible joy. Joy after loneliness. The joy of new relationship: for I am yours... My name is written in the Book of Life. As a baby myself—more needy than able, weaker than strong, foolish from failure, helpless and hungry—I’ve seen the sheer grace of your love: for I should be dead, but I live! I should despair, but during this Christmas too I’ve known moments of genuine peace. This cannot arise from me. It had to come as a gift from the Source of Life and Truth and Light and Bread and Love.

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