Merry Christmas! On the eighth day of Christmas, we are given some cutting-edge theology: Baby Jesus was circumcised!
Blood shed. Baby blood. The covenant was kept–just like it was with every male, Jewish child. When the eighth day rolls around, it’s time to be circumcised, according to the promise made by God to Abraham that all male children would be marked–set aside–for God.
But unlike every little Jewish baby cut eight days after his birth, this Baby was circumcised for you. He was cut for you. He bled for you. He kept the Law, the covenant, for you. What He did didn’t just covenant Him into the family of God. His cut puts you in the family of God. His blood saves you.
You were not God’s family. You were not born God’s child. You were not lovable. You were not sinless. It’s not even that you were neutral to God. You were actually against Him. You were an enemy of God.
We all were. We were born on the other side–the side of Adam–the side that took what wasn’t ours to be better than the God who made us. The side that was cast out of paradise in order that he and Eve wouldn’t live forever dead to God.
Jesus’ bloodshed changes everything! Today isn’t just the day that the calendar changes. Today, you were changed. You have a family. You have a Brother. You are children of Abraham as surely as Jesus is a child of Abraham. His blood is shed for you.
Circumcision for the covenant is over and done. It was incomplete. It was fulfilled today in Christ. It ended for you on Good Friday. You’ve been raised from the dead. No more blood will make you right with God. No covenants need to be fulfilled by you.
On this New Year’s Eve some seek out being “ready” as somehow stopping from sinning. That we can make ourselves more worthy for God. If that’s what makes us ready, we’re doomed! Rather, when Jesus says to be ready, that means to be in Him.
You are baptized. You were marked with a circumcision done without hands. You were washed in His Blood. Blood that cleansed. Blood that made you new.
And so we await the new year. We wonder what will come, what this year will bring. Some things we know, namely the time. We know when New Year’s Eve arrives: at midnight. We can watch the lighted ball drop in Times Square year after year and with precision, greet the new year. We never have to guess.
So it is that you never have to guess on the Lord’s grace this new year. It is more constant and steady than even the passing of time, which one day will even end. But not so His grace for you. So spend your New Year rejoicing. You are new–newer than the year and better than any resolution. You are forgiven. You are different. You are a child of God. Baby Jesus shed His blood for you. He has come to save you.
After all that is what His name means. The Lord saves. That’s what Jesus does. His name isn’t “The Lord judges” or “The Lord condemns” or “The Lord lets you get away with anything.” It’s Yahweh saves–by bleeding for you. From the moment the angel told Mary and Joseph that this child would be called “Jesus” to the moment they gave Him that Name when He was circumcised…that Name says it all: He saves. That’s what He does.
Eight days after He is born, the Lord sheds His blood for you. Circumcision was the sign of God’s promise that the Savior would one day be born. Now, carried out on the Savior Himself, circumcision is the sign that God’s promises are kept and that Yahweh saves His people. Iesous, Jesus, given and shed for you. Nothing will ever be the same. Everything is new. All is washed. You are forgiven. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in the Name + of Jesus! Amen.