21 And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”),
24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
We may not call them “traditions,” but many of us go through similar processes when it comes to having a baby.
We spend the first few hours or day alone with the baby, invite grandparents and siblings in, have pictures taken, and so on. Some even spend the first several weeks at home, only leaving if it’s absolutely necessary.
Joseph and Mary also had traditions associated with having a baby, and those traditions were driven by Jewish law. Jesus’ circumcision in part validates the fact that He was a Jew—and in every sense qualified Him to be the Messiah.
But Luke is more concerned that we understand the gravity of the fact that His name, “Jesus,” was divine pronounced. What distinguishes Him is His name, “Jesus,” meaning “God saves,” a name given to Him not by His earthly parents, but His Heavenly Father.
Jesus is God’s Son with a divine purpose.
Finally, it is noteworthy that Joseph and Mary offered two young pigeons as their sacrifice. The law actually requires a lamb, but those who were too poor to afford such a sacrifice were also permitted to give two young pigeons or turtledoves.
This is yet another indication of the poverty into which Jesus was born. He not only became poor by becoming human, but was born to the poorest of human parents.
- What traditions do you practice during the Christmas season to celebrate the coming of Jesus?
- Jesus fully identifies with us as human beings, but which of the ways are particularly meaningful to you right now?
- Give thanks to God for traditions that keep us mindful of His work in our lives, and for fully identifying with His creation in Jesus.