My Dear Brothers & Sisters:
The Feast Day of January is celebrated globally as New Year’s Day. However, this day takes on added significance for us within the Church as it is celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. January first has also been celebrated as the circumcision of our Lord and the solemnity of Mary, mother of God. The celebration of the Holy Name of Jesus has been the most focused in recent times. The observation of the circumcision of Jesus is linked to the Jewish religious tradition. It was the occasion when our Lord received his Holy Name.
In our Anglican tradition, the catechism in the 1962 Book of Common Prayer begins with the statement “what is your name.” In our baptismal liturgy, the question is asked of parents and God Parents, “name this child.” The implication from this is that our names are significant because our name given to us at baptism is what identifies us as members of the Church, children of the Heavenly Father and inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
Today we remind ourselves of those realities, even as we begin a new calendar period. Our identity, although determined by our family of origin, our culture, nationality and foremost defined by our being children of God, the hope of God, we express our identity as the people of God within the context of the other areas of our identity.
Today we reaffirm that we belong to the Anglican communion of Churches, doing mission and pursuing our ministry within the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. It is my prayer that we place our identity as God’s people, in God’s world, as we begin this New Year.
A most blessed 2023.