What a weird thing to celebrate as part of Christmastide -- the circumcision of Christ? Well, it is the eighth day after His birth, and every Jewish male child is circumcised on that eighth day. Recent medical research relates that around the eighth day of life, a baby bleeds less copiously and endures less pain in the circumcision process than doing the procedure earlier or later. So God knew what He was doing (duh!) when He commanded that baby boys be circumcised on the eighth day after birth.
After staying up to ring in the New Year, I never seem to get myself up early enough to attend the Anglican service commemorating this day, but here is the Collect that is prayed on this eighth day of Christmas in honor of the circumcision of Christ:
Almighty God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle for this day can be found in the second chapter of St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians, starting in the ninth verse:
God hath also highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The Gospel is written in the second chapter of the Gospel According to St. Luke, beginning at the fifteenth verse:
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go even now unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told to them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Happy Eighth Day of Christmas! And a Happy New Year in which God will be glorified through us, His beloved children.