8th Day of Christmas, January 1st: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

The Eighth Day of Christmas – January 1st: The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

St. Luke tells us that, in accordance with Jewish tradition and law, eight days after his birth Jesus was circumcised and named.  While a “rose by any other name may smell as sweet”, nevertheless, the name of the rose evokes particular memories and sensations for those who know the flower by that name. Many parents spend hours and hours thinking about the name they want to give to a child.  Sometimes a child is given a name with the intention of honoring a member of the family or a friend or a hero. Sometimes a name is given simply because the parents like the sound of it.  Sometimes a name is given because it signifies a meaning that will be, or the parents hope will be, manifest in the child’s life:  Mary and Joseph named their son Jesus because the angel told them that “he will save his people”.  Jesus, in Hebrew Joshua, means “the Lord will save”.  Does your name have a meaning?  There are lots of websites that will help you answer that question–just GoogleTM “names” and you are in business.  Do you know why your parents chose your name?  As part of the celebration of this day, use your favorite sugar cookie recipe and cut the cookies into the initials of members of the household as a reminder of their names.  Your name, or your baptismal name, may also be the name of a saint.  Do you know when that saint’s feast day is?  That is your name day, which in some countries is celebrated instead of a birthday.

In English tradition, this is a day to remember godparents.  Children would go to visit their godparents to receive a blessing and a gift.  There was a time when being a godparent was much more than an honor bestowed on friends of the parents.  It was a serious responsibility, for godparents were not only expected to teach the faith to their godchildren, but they were also the people who would take a child into their own home if the child’s parents were to die.  Once again, our friends at Catholic Culture have a recipe for godcakes, a pastry that could be given either by godparents to their godchildren–or the children could be the givers.  Godparents could also use the blessing of children (from the Fourth Day of Christmas, above) to bless their godchildren.

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