LUKE 2:21 And when eight days were completed before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Today we celebrate the name of Jesus. Its one of those small things easy to miss, but when we read the Christmas story according to Luke, the one we all know, the Christ child remains nameless, the angels tell the shepherds about a child who is born, and the shepherds go and see the babe, they canít come to see Jesus, because babies receive there name on the 8th day, thatís when they become part of the people of God, enter His covenant, and receive their name.

It is quite appropriate that we should therefore begin every new year, remembering the birth of our Savior, and beginning it with his name. Some say, Whatís in a name? A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Indeed today we see children being given many interesting names. But a name has meaning, or it should. It should tell you something about who you are, or what your parents hoped you might become. And while our names might not always be a reflection of who we are, Godís name does indeed reveal much about who he is. If Godís personal name is tied up in the great "I am". The name of Jesus, the Son of God, tells us quite plainly, God will save; and this indeed is what the Christ had come to do, to save people from sin, from death, and from the power of the devil. We know that Jesus was born, lived under the law perfectly, without sin, kept the law in our place, suffered and died for our sins, and rose on the 3rd day. We know that Jesus has won the victory over sin, over death, and over the power of the devil. We know that in Jesus the power of the almighty God was pleased to dwell, and therefore he is able to do anything.

And as good as this news is. We rejoice because Jesus has called us his friends, and not just that, he went one to call us his brothers and sisters, sharing with us not only the forgiveness of sins, but life everlasting, and the hope of glory.

The old year last night came to an end. Hopefully it was a good year for you. But let us this day bring any lingering regret, doubt, or trouble to the Altar, and place it in the hands of God, and begin this new year in Jesus name, with nothing that can hold us back, and with the upward call of God in Christ drawing us forward.

You see God has not only given us forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ, but God has made us a new creation, and given us a new name - he has given us His Name. We know we can call upon the name of the Lord, and that he will hear us, and for Jesus sake he will grant us what we need. We know we have been given a new name, Godís name, so that wherever we go, we might be a reflection of the grace and mercy that are ours in Christ to all whom we meet.

We do not know exactly what the new year will bring. But we do know that this new year brings us a new beginning, for all our sins are washed away in the blood of Jesus. We know that this new year will bring us new opportunities to grow in grace and faith, and in our understanding of the scriptures. We know this new year will be filled with grace and every blessing, for we begin it in Jesus name, and in Jesus name we will begin each new day. And we know that in this new year God will prepare us for what ever is coming, and help us that we make work with him in the harvest of souls and in the advance of the Gospel, for Jesus sake.