New Year’s Day is a day for festivities and merrymaking. In the Church, it is also the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This is the day that the Church remembers the naming and circumcision of Jesus.
It was a Jewish custom for newborn boys to be named and circumcised eight days after they were born. This is why the feast occurs eight days after Christmas Day.
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21
The name "Jesus," meaning "God saves" emphasizes His pivotal role in human salvation. Invoking the name of Jesus is central to our prayers and worship because we believe, as Christians, in the power of His holy name.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
Devotion for the Day
Light the Christ candle. Begin your devotion time with the following invitation to prayer:
Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Leader: Let us pray.
Eternal Father, you gave to your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we pray, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Read Luke 2:21 and Philippians 2:9-11
Close with a prayer thanking God for his goodness and asking for his
guidance and protection for you and all who are in any need or trouble.
End your devotion by saying the Lord’s Prayer together.
Ways to Celebrate
Make God Cakes. It is traditional in Coventry, England to visit your godchild on this day and to bring them "God-cakes". God Cakes are little triangular cakes (in honor of the Trinity) with sweet filling.
Coventry God Cakes
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl. confectioner’s sugar
8 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp milk or water
¼ butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup currants
¼ cup candied lemon peel, finely chopped
Grated rind of ½ a lemon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. If you wish, stir in the sugar. Using the tips of your fingers or two knives, work in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Make a well and add the egg and milk. Mix briefly with a fork. Form the dough into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least ½ hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter 2 baking sheets.
To make the filling: Cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Stir in the remaining ingredients, blending thoroughly.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out thin. Cut into four-inch squares. Reroll the scraps. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling near one corner of each square, leaving ½ inch of dough uncovered. Lightly moisten the edges of the pastry. Fold from corner to corner to make triangles. Seal the edges with your fingers, then with the tines of a fork.
Place the cakes on the baking sheets and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.