On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. (Luke 2:21)

God has a name.  God has a name and it means everything.  God has a name and it means everything for you this New Year.

On the eighth day of Christmas, God is named.  His name tells you who he is and what he was born to do.  He was born to save.  He was born to rescue.  He was born to deliver.

On January 1st, the church sets aside time to contemplate the events of the eighth day of the life of the Lord Jesus.  What we hear happen on that day may seem insignificant, or at least not as important as things that happened on other days of his life.

But don’t breeze past Luke 2:21.  Already on the eighth day of his life, Jesus is showing you that he has come to do what his name means.  Already is he the Lamb of God who sheds his blood to take away the sins of the world.  Already is he a perfect and willing substitute, keeping all of God’s law in our place.  Already does he offer himself for us…in our place.

God has a name and that name is not only given for you, it is given to you.  God’s name is given to you to save you.  When you were baptized, you received the saving name of Jesus and the Triune God.  Every Sunday when you hear the opening words of the divine service (the invocation), you are reminded that as one of the baptized you bear the name of God.  Every Sunday, when you hear the closing words of the divine service (the Aaronic blessing), God puts his name on you as you go out into the world to serve your neighbor.

The name of Jesus is why you may approach the uncertainty of 2017 with confidence.  The first president of the Missouri Synod, an influential figure in American Confessional Lutheranism, preached this certainty in a sermon on New Year’s Day in 1845, “Now then, all of you who believe in God’s Word, let your watchword for entering the New Year be this: ‘I am baptized!’ Although the world may laugh at this comfort, the enthusiasts vex its confidence…nevertheless, abandon any other dearly held pledges and speak only throughout the entire year to come, in all terrors of conscience and necessity through sin and death: ‘I am baptized! I am baptized! Hallelujah!’ ​And you shall prevail! In every time of need, you will find comfort in your Baptism; on account of it Satan will flee from your faith and confession; and in death you will see heaven opened and will finally come into the joy of your Lord to celebrate a great year of jubilee, a year of praise, with all the angels forever and ever. Amen!”*

Remember now the Son of God
And how he shed his infant blood.
Rejoice!  Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.

This Jesus came to end sin’s war;
This Name of names for us he bore.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.

God, Father, Son, and Spirit, hear!
To all our pleas incline your ear;
Upon our lives rich blessing trace
In this new year of grace.  (Lutheran Service Book, 896:2,3,7)

*C.F.W. Walther sermon quoted in Treasury of Daily Prayer.