Holy Name of Jesus – January 1
- First reading
- Second reading
Galatians 4:4-7 | New Living Translation (NLT)
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
This is one of two readings for today. This particular reading is the same that we had for yesterday. While most of us know that January 1st is New Year’s Day – and we do have a reading for that, today is also known as Holy Name of Jesus. It is a feast day that follows eight days after the birth of Jesus. Yes, we know that December 25 probably isn’t the date of Jesus’ birth, but since we celebrate it on December 25, we commemorate this day eight days later.
Since Jesus’ parents were righteous and devout Jews, they would have had Jesus circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. During the ceremony, the baby is also given his official name. This is why we remember this day as Holy Name of Jesus.
As I already mentioned, we looked at today’s scripture on Friday, but we will take a short look at it again today. What was the importance of naming this new baby boy Jesus? Listen to what the angel tells Joseph in Matthew 1:
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
The name of Jesus literally means “the Lord saves.” It is this Jesus that came just at the right time, according to Paul, to buy freedom for the very ones who rejected Him. If we believe in him, we are no longer subject to the penalty of the law. This is Good News. This is exciting news. We are no longer slaves, but we are children of God. All because Jesus came – as God in the flesh. The scriptures tell us that he dwelt among us.
In Ephesians 3, Paul writes, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.” The word home is the word dwells. Christ wants to make a difference in our lives by dwelling – by making his home in our hearts. The name of Jesus makes all the difference in our world.
Let’s begin 2018, by giving Jesus room in our hearts to dwell – let him make his home there so that we can live for him. Loving the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Obeying the Lord’s commands, making new disciples and teaching new disciples what Christ has taught us.