As we consider our New Year Resolutions, it is important to remember that God has done everything that He asks of us. In commemorating the Circumcision of Christ, a physical reality of Christ, the Church reminds us that God has complete the Law where we were and are lacking.
I was wondering the other day, why would the church have as a major feast day, something like the circumcision of Christ? On the surface, it is a holiday about something totally physical, and yet it is also a spiritual feast. We remember from the days of Abraham that God established the law for the people, and one of the symbols of the law was that all of the men would bear a physical sign that they belonged to God. And according to the law of Moses, given by God, that physical sign was circumcision and every male in the Jewish community had that physical sign to reveal to the world that they were the people of God.
And interestingly, none of the righteous even of the Old Testament, needless to say, those who were not considered righteous, no one was ever able to fulfill completely the law given to them by God. Even something as simple as the feast that we celebrate today. And so I wondered why would the church be giving us this feast on something that reminded us of a failure of our past? And that’s because in this feast, we are reminded my brothers and sisters that God does everything that he asks us to do. There is nothing either in the law of Moses or even in the New Testament, there is nothing that God asks of us that he himself is not willing to do. Go all the way back.
Let’s start with Abraham. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son. Abraham was unwilling, but God sacrificed his son. He was willing and able to do what Abraham could not do. As Christ enters the world, fulfilling the law of Moses doing everything where we were lacking. And so the church, these only eight days after the birth of Christ, reminds us of this great grace that God gives to us. I wrote in the bulletin about New Year’s resolutions. We all make them, and let’s admit it, we all fail miserably at them. Most of us by next week will have forgotten what they even were to begin with. But I also gave you some suggested resolutions that have to do with our relationship with Jesus Christ and his church. On this day, when looking forward and changing, our life is on our minds, my brothers and sisters, the church asks us to remember that God himself did and does everything he asks of us.
So maybe we can put in a little bit more effort in being like Him. He went to the temple every day. Maybe we can put a little bit more effort to come to church more often. He followed the fasting laws of the church. Maybe we can follow the fasting guidelines of the church a little bit more this year. He knew the scriptures. The list goes on and on and on. This is the year that we can commit to being more like God, knowing that God did it first, and that if He asks us, He knows how difficult it is to follow his law. He knows how difficult it is to be tempted
As the fathers teach, He was like us in every possible way except for sin. We think we’re tempted. He was tempted more. You think we suffer? He suffered more. You think we are persecuted? He was persecuted more. He did it all. Let’s make this the year that we honor Him by increasing our faith, increasing our praxis, our actions as Orthodox Christians, and so we can celebrate not just the physical celebrations, but the spiritual celebrations in our life. Then we will have accomplished something then in all of our resolutions. If we have just one resolution to be more like Christ, then I promise you we can succeed because God is on our side and He’s going to hold our hand and walk with us every step of every day of our New year. May it be blessed, may be filled with grace and God’s mercy. Happy New Year.