January 1st, in the Christian calendar is not the beginning of a new year.  This is the day we celebrate the circumcision of Christ.  Since our cultures are more squeamish than were those of our ancestors, modern calendars usually list it as the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.   Just like every Jewish boy, Jesus as circumcised and formally named on the eighth day of his life, and so, one week after Christmas, while we are still celebrating the wonder and the joy of the Saviour who came to dwell amongst us, we celebrate this occasion  In Jesus day, a name was far more important than it tends to be today.   Introducing a person just about gave you their whole genealogy and sometimes even reflected their personality.

As a celebration of then naming of Jesus why not get together with a group of friends for a party – always a good way to shake off those post Christmas blues.  Bring a name book with you.  Look up the names of each person in your group and discuss their meanings.  Get each person to share the story of why they were given that name.  Then ask the question: In what ways does your name reflect the call that God has placed on your life?  Some of you may like to consider a new name that reflects what you believe is God’s call on your life.  One friend of mine changed his name from Bill to Will because he felt it better reflected his desire to use his life “doing the will of God.”

Next spend time discussing the names of Jesus.  Get each person to write down the names that they remember as being applied to Jeuss in the Scriptures.  You might like to have a competition to see who can think of the most names.  Or you could write a poem or song that reflects these names.  end your time with a discussion about how you could represent these different aspects of who Jesus can me to those who live around you.

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