Thoughts for the New Year

As we count off the days from the celebration of Christmas, we find that January 1st comes just eight days after Christmas.  Do you know what Jesus was doing eight days after his birth?  Getting circumcised.  Doesn’t sound like much of a New Year’s celebration.  Or does it?
On the eighth day after Jesus’ birth, Joseph followed the angel’s instructions and gave him the name “Jesus.”  This was a name which meant something that was more than just words.  It represented God’s resolution.  For the name Jesus means, “the LORD is salvation.”  And Jesus would represent God’s resolution to save us.  By this name, a blessing was spoken into being.DSCN8913
“Jesus” is a name which has come to save us from failed resolutions and empty words.  Unlike God’s resolution, our resolutions fail.  We imagine that this year will be different.  This month I am committed.  Today I will change.  We think that if we can just change things on the outside – find the right house; find the right person; find the right job; get up a little earlier; keep my house clean; stick to a budget; not talk to that person any more; stop smoking; stop drinking; if I can just accomplish a few of things here and there, I can straighten my life out; then I will be blessed; then God will bring me His blessing.  But our words are wasted on the whims of the world.
These are empty words.  They simply don’t deal with the true problem.  And that is that we are cursed.  Our words are cursed.  Our resolutions are cursed.  Without Christ we are nothing more than flesh.  We need a new name.  And as much as we might be able to change things here and there on the outside, we cannot change what is within.  We cannot stop lusting; we cannot stop hating; we cannot stop being bitter; we cannot stop wanting to gossip; we cannot stop being unsatisfied with God; we cannot stop wasting time on ourselves.  And before we know it, another year passes by, and nothing has really changed.  That old Adam is a name which likes to make himself known to us.
But on the eight day, God had a resolution.  It was on the eight day when Joseph spoke the name given to the child.  And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21).
This circumcision was God’s New Year resolution.  It was a resolution on the part of God to bring you into a New Day, to take you out of the old way of the world and make you a part of His holy people, to bless you and keep you, to make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you and give you peace.  It was a mark of God’s promise – that through the loins of Abraham would come the blessing to all the families of the earth; through Abraham and his circumcised descendants would come a Son, and his name was called Jesus, because as the angel said, “He will save His people from their sins.”