Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 3, 2019
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21 (NRSV)
I’m often struck by the interesting ways in which historic rhythms of the Church calendar invite us to sit with themes that we’d otherwise quickly pass over or neglect entirely. In Advent we ponder with Mary the mystery of the incarnation, the Word made flesh, and yet as soon as Christmas Day arrives, these reflections seem to get buried under a mountain of wrapping paper! Especially in a culture where we’ve been celebrating Christmas for weeks on end, Christmas Day in many ways feels like a finish line rather than a starting point, with the themes of Christmas headed to the curb, along with our dry and brittle Christmas trees.
And yet, here we are, in the middle of the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” invited afresh to sit with these themes a bit longer, to learn what it means to feast well and to continue to press into the mystery of our faith.
On New Year’s Day, in the midst of setting grand resolutions and enjoying time with family and friends, we reflect with Christians around the world on a lesser emphasized and (seemingly) less festive occasion: the circumcision of Jesus. Likely mindful of the cultural oddity and foreignness of such an observance, recently Christians on this day have also focused on the Jewish custom of naming a child at their circumcision. And while the temptation may exist to relegate these details to the footnotes of the Christmas story, they present to us an invitation to continue to press in deeper to the themes of this season.
In the circumcision of Jesus we are reminded of the reality of the incarnation. In the naming of Jesus, we see with great clarity the reality and purpose of the incarnation. Jesus, a name meaning “savior” or “deliverer”, brings God’s deliverance through the humility and physicality of the incarnation. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, there at the beginning, enters fully into creation in order to save and redeem in the most unlikely of ways, through his own flesh and blood.
Resist the urge to “move on” from Christmas and sit afresh with the infant king, born for our salvation and the restoration of all things!
Father, thank you for the remarkable love shown to us in the life, death, and resurrection of your Son, Jesus. As we enter into this New Year, help us to continue to place our hope and trust in him. Amen.
How can you create space this New Year to intentionally reflect upon the mystery and wonder of the incarnation of Christ?
Jesus, a name meaning “savior”, brings God’s deliverance through the humility and physicality of the incarnation. #wisdomhunters #postchristmas
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