It is eight days after Christmas and it is time to name and circumcise the child. By naming him we recognize that he is an individual person, and by circumcising him we recognize that he is part of a group.
We are all individuals and we are all parts of several groups. One group we are part of is the church: the community that has its origins in the people who hung around Jesus. That community has grown and changed over the years, and one of the biggest changes was when it finally decided to verbally express what it had been thinking, feeling, and praying all along: “Jesus is God.”
The community has spent a lot of time and energy trying to refine and define that expression, and in the process has sometimes lost sight of another thing they knew all along: “Jesus is human.”
“Jesus is human, Jesus is God.” Human life now is part of God – not only in the sense that everything is made by God, but now also in the sense that human life is actually a part of God’s life. Since human life now belongs to God, human life is holy. Jesus had a name (given to him eight days after his birth), body parts (circumcised eight days after his birth) and was part of a group (post-exilic Roman-occupied Palestinian Jews). Therefore, human names, body parts, and groups are holy.
We should treat all of those things as the holy things that they are. But we know we don’t and so we have these recurring celebrations to remind us of what we need to do. We also need to remember that holy simply means special – set apart for a special purpose (usually in terms of things set apart for God to use.) We as individuals, as physical bodies, as groups are specially purposed to be used by God – loving the world around us as we give of ourselves.
It is eight days after Christmas and it is time to be holy. AMEN