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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers The Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Circumcision and Naming of Jesus In keeping with ancient Jewish tradition, Jesus was circumcised and named on the eighth day after his birth. The church no longer requires circumcision and one is tempted to say, “Why all this fuss about a name? What’s in a name?” But names are important symbols. We stencil our names on items that belong to us. Adam named the animals, indicating his lordship over them. Slaves usually assumed the name of the family to which they belonged. A child is named by and for its parents and a bride traditionally assumes the name of the family she joins in marriage. People are concerned about the public use of their names but also fear being nameless, just a number. The third commandment warns us against taking the Lord’s name in vain. A name, then, is not just a word, but rather an important sign of ownership and responsibility. In our Lord’s family, the church, all that we own or do is in Jesus’ name, “in whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Today we remember the naming of Jesus Christ on the occasion of his circumcision. Perhaps this is an appropriate time to dedicate the new year to the greater glory of that Name and all that it stands for.

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