THE FEAST OF THE HOLY NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, JANUARY 1 - DR. GIL HAAS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Episcopalians celebrate The Feast of the Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ on January 1st, the eighth day after Jesus’ birth. It was on this day that Mosaic law stipulated that male children were named and circumcised. This feast was retitled in our 1979 Book of Common Prayer as it was previously celebrated as the Feast of the Circumcision. The change in the feast’s nomenclature paralleled Luke’s (Luke 2:21) stress on the naming of Jesus. Celebration of the feast dates from the Middle Ages, but it was not moved to January 1 by the Catholic Church until 2002. The Church of England celebrates the Name of Jesus on August 7th while retaining January 1st as the Feast of the Circumcision. Jesus is from the Hebrew “Joshua” meaning “Yahweh is salvation”. Devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus is derived from Philippians 2:9-11, which states that God “gave him (Jesus) the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” This epistle lesson is always read on Palm Sunday, and some Anglo-Catholics acknowledge the word “bend” with a genuflection.
~ Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church