The Solemnity of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ-Why it matters.

On the eighth day following his birth, in fulfillment of the covenant between God and Abraham. Our Lord Jesus Christ was circumcised and was named (Luke 2: 21). By this act he was entered into the People of Israel and his name, Yeshua, “God Saves,” gave some insight into what his life would come to mean.

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This feast is essential because it refutes all the anti-Semitic prejudice which infected Christianity for millennia. Our Lord was Jewish, his mother was Jewish and his foster father was Jewish. Even more importantly—they were observant Jews. They understood God having reached out again and again in covenant love to Adam and Eve, to Noah, to Abraham, through Moses, to David and through the prophets.

The early Church also saw in this babe of Bethlehem that Yeshua or Joshua was at the same time the “light of revelation to the nations,” a feast which we will celebrate as the Ephipany this coming Sunday.

But today is also called the Solemnity of the Mother of God. As Wikipedia reminds us this feast is ultimately Christological—rather than Mariological because it has more to do with asserting that Jesus is both human and divine, than in awarding any special or unique honor to his mother: “The feast is a celebration of Mary’s motherhood of Jesus. The English title “Mother of God” is a literal translation of the Latin title Mater Dei, which in turn is a looser rendering of the corresponding Greek title Θεοτόκος (Theotokos), literally meaning “Bearer of God” dogmatically adopted by the First Council of Ephesus (431) as an assertion of the divinity of Christ. The title is thus fundamentally Christological rather than Mariological.”

Here is a prayer for the Mass of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God: “God our Father, may we always profit by the prayers of the Virgin Mother Mary, for you bring us life and salvation through Jesus Christ her Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

And here is the old (1662) collect provided by the Prayer Book Society: “ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man: Grant us the true Circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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