And at the end of eight days ... He was circumcised ... (Luke 2:21).
New Year's Day was always an exciting new beginning. If the old year had brought us pain and misery, we could rejoice that it was over, gone, behind us. And in the dawning of a new day, there was the hope the New Year would be so much better.
This day was also a new beginning for the Baby Jesus. Jesus is eight days old, and it is now time to circumcise Him, according to the Law of the Lord. This ceremony made Jesus a member of God's people Israel. It also bound Him under the Law, obligating Him to keep that Law perfectly. As our Substitute, Jesus perfectly obeyed God's Law, so His perfection, holiness and righteousness might be ours, covering our failings, our flaws, and our sins.
But His circumcision carries with it the reminder that Jesus will not simply cover our sin, He will remove it from us -- forever. On this eighth day of His young life, Jesus first sheds His blood for us, but it will certainly not be the last time He does this. On a dark day some 30 years into the future, Jesus will shed His blood and die on the cross to satisfy God's wrath against our sins.
The symbolism of His circumcision and our Baptism both remind us of God's work, cutting off our sinful nature or drowning it. In Baptism God makes us new creatures, so we can stand before Him spotless and pure through Jesus Christ.
What a way to start a New Year!
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in Your circumcision Your blood was first shed as our Substitute. Cut the sin from our hearts, that we may enter this New Year in Your holiness and purity. Amen.