A priest and performer considers religion, the arts, and the often thin space between sacred and secular, church and culture, pulpit and pew.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Eighth Day of Christmas: January 1, The Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ

(Numbers 6:22-27; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 2:15-21)

On the eighth of Christmas, God’s true Love gave to me…

…an answer to the question: What’s in a name?

The Holy Name, formerly known as the Circumcision of Christ, recognizes several things. First is the Jewishness of Jesus. All male Jewish babies are circumcised on the 8th day. Second is the humanity of Jesus: the Word made human flesh allows this rite to take place. Third is the fact that this infant Son of God is given a human name: Jesus, Yeshua, Joshua. Granted, it means “the one who saves”, but it is nevertheless a human name, given to other Jewish baby boys before the birth of this Jesus the Christ. How often do people change their birth names to reflect a new reality in their lives? Jesus’ reality was clear from the beginning, in the angel’s instructions to Joseph: “…you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). The reading from Numbers reminds us that God has put his Name on his people, Israel; Paul, writing to the Christians in Philippi, tells us that since Jesus did not take advantage of his divine status, God “gave him the name that is above every name” – Jesus!

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