January 1st is the traditional date that Jesus was publicly named. The name Jesus means Saviour and is the name the Archangel Gabriel had told both St Joseph and the Virgin Mary that he was to be called, because He would ‘save His people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:22) For His mother and Joseph, (His legal father if not his biological one), it was also simply the name that they called their little boy; it made Him part of their family. Jesus was one of the most popular names for boys in the first century and there are parts of the world where it remains normal to call boys Jesus now.
On the same day that He was named Jesus was also circumcised. All Jewish boys to this day are circumcised. It is a way of marking you out to show that you belong to the Jewish family. The blood that must have been spilt when Jesus was circumcised was a hint of how He would later save His people through the cross, but it also made Him part of the Jewish family.
Jesus belonged to His earthly parents and belonged to God through His circumcision. When He grew up He preached the good news of how we can all belong to God.
Our world is fractured in so many ways and belonging has never been more important. One of the reasons we have such problems with gangs is that young people want something to belong to. It is sad that they have to join something bad to find that sense of belonging and we all need to be challenged to find more positive ways of belonging.
In 2012 we are all offered the chance to come together to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen. It’s a chance to celebrate together. We also need to work and pray to find other ongoing ways of strengthening and building community. It is Jesus Christ’s express wish that we should all ‘be one’ (John17:20) in Him and that is certainly something to pray about this coming year.
Posted By: valerie