Sunday, January 1st, was a landmark day in both the secular world and in the church. The night before, champagne corks popped as glasses clinked and fireworks filled the sky. We rang out the old and in the new, a ritual as old as time. Some of us made resolutions, others didn’t, knowing how often such good intentions are lost in the hustle and bustle of the new year.
Then New Year’s Day dawned with the bright promise of a new tomorrow filled with hope that overrides the experience of past years. A hope, at times beyond reason, but a hope nonetheless, often based on faith.
For it is our faith that helps us see our secular world with sacred eyes. It is our faith that teaches us that not only was January 1st New Year’s Day, it was also the Feast of the Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The day when we Christians celebrate Jesus being taken to the temple to be named, to be given the identity that began to set him apart, even as he cooed and squirmed in Mary’s arms.
For the name of Jesus, says it all. It literally means “God saves”, which gives Jesus the everlasting identity as the One who has come to save us and reminds us that yes, we need to be saved, each and every one of us.
For we are human, subject to the temptations of the secular world around us that is sometimes as celebratory as the best New Year’s Eve and at other times as sorrowful as the headlines we too often read, as relationships that are too often broken, as illness that too often strikes unannounced.
Only in looking at the double meaning of the first day of each year, can we move forward with the only resolution that really matters – to worship our Lord and Saviour in the beauty of holiness, to turn to him in both good and bad times, to draw ever closer to him who has come to save – you and me and our neighbor who may not look or worship or vote or love as do we.
My resolution? To hold at the center of my life the one reality that remains constant year after year. Jesus Saves. Yes, he does. Thanks be to God.
The Rev. Canon Elizabeth Geitz