Happy Circumcision & Name of Jesus Day!

I hope you had a big celebration last night and stayed up past midnight to see in the big holiday today.  Namely, the commemoration of the circumcision and naming of Jesus, a ceremony that took place one week after His birth.  To honor the occasion–and, oh, yes, it’s also New Year’s Day, isn’t it?–I am reposting something I wrote back in 2009:

Today is. . . the ancient feast celebrating The Circumcision and Name of Jesus. The week after Christmas, the Christchild was circumcised, thus taking upon Himself the fulfillment of the Law, a rite in which He was also officially given His name.

“Jesus” means “God saves” (literally, to put it even stronger, “YHWH saves”). Notice how the very name of Jesus attests to His divinity and to the Gospel.

Several years ago, we went to church on New Years Day and heard one of the most memorable sermons on the Name of Jesus. The pastor went through the different places in the Bible that talks about doing things “in the name of Jesus,” then bringing in the meaning of that name, that God saves. We are told to pray in the name of Jesus, because “God saves” gives us full access to the Father. When even two or three meet in the name of Jesus, He is with them, because “God saves” makes a new kind of worship possible. Disciples could cast out demons in Jesus’ name; that is, in the reality that “God saves.” At the name of Jesus, “God saves,” every knee shall bow and every tongue that Jesus is LORD. (Try that correlation yourself in your own devotions.)

via The Name of Jesus.

This is also a fitting contemplation for  the new year ahead.  So happy New Year’s, everybody!  May 2015 be a good and blessed year for all of you!.

Make your predictions for 2015

Now it’s time for you to make your predictions about what is going to happen in the new year that begins today.  Then, on New Year’s Eve of 2015, we will review them to see who is the most far-sighted prognosticator.

Again, the more specific, out-of-the-blue, and surprising predictions fare best.  The example I keep giving is tODD, who a few years ago predicted the death of North Korea’s dictator , Kim Jong-Il, and the ascension of his unlikely son, Kim Jong-Un.  I don’t believe Kim Jong-Il was even sick at the time of the prediction, so it was quite a stunning guess.  (Then again, no one last year predicted that Kim Jong-Un would be associated with a hack of a major Hollywood studio in a first successful and then unsuccessful attempt to kill a crude comedy about assassinating said dictator.  If anyone had made such a prediction, the trophy would be retired.  Instead, reg won with his prediction that the United States would normalize relations with Cuba, which is plenty specific, out-of-the-blue, and surprising.

See yesterday’s reward post and the New Year’s Day prediction post it links to, to show you what we’re looking for.  Then predict away!

Looking backwards, looking forwards

The week building up to New Year’s is a good time to look back at the year that has passed.  We’ll be doing that on this blog over the next week, among other things, with your help.  Then we’ll look forward to the new year ahead.  And that will bring us to a celebrated and notorious feature of this blog:  the year’s predictions.  On New Year’s Eve, we will check the predictions that you readers made last year and see who takes the virtual prize of glory for the most astute prognostication that came true.  Then on New Year’s Day, we will make predictions for 2014, which will be checked on the last day of that year (if we last that long).  So be thinking about what’s going to happen!

Happy New Year!

As the country, like a nation of lemmings,  parties its way off the fiscal cliff, let us all wish each other a lucky 2013!

That doesn’t sound very hopeful.  Let’s try that again.  Have a blessed New Year!  “My times are in your hand” (Psalm 31:15).

Happy New Year!

January is named after the Roman deity Janus, the god of thresholds.   He had two faces, one that looked back and one that looked forward.  So that’s what we do on New Year’s.  We look back on the year that has passed and we look forward to the year ahead.

Whether your 2011 was a year of trials or thanksgivings or both and whatever 2012 will hold for you, I hope that you will know the promise of Psalm 31:15:  “My times are in your hand.”

Last year’s predictions & contest results

A New Year’s custom on this blog is to have readers predict what will happen in the year ahead.  That’s not particularly unique.  But what is unique is our other custom:  To review those predictions at the end of the year and actually check how everyone did.  Whoever has the most impressive prediction wins universal acclaim and bragging rights for the whole year.

I urge you all to read Your predictions for 2011 | Cranach: The Blog of Veith.  You will get a kick out of it, and you will be encouraged that the year was not quite as bad as many of us thought it was going to be.

Most notable is that Webmonk and Kerner actually made a bet over the number of troops that would be in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Kerner said that we would have fewer than 155,000 troops still fighting in those wars, and Webmonk said that we would have more than that.  Webmonk said that if Kerner is right he would write on this blog an ode “to the greatness of Kerner and all things Lutheran (LCMS).”  Kerner called the bet, agreeing to write an ode to Webmonk and to the religion of his choice.   Well, combat troops have withdrawn from Iraq, though 91,000 remain in Afghanistan.  So Kerner wins!

Webmonk, we await your ode. Not a limerick or a sonnet.  An actual ode.

Special Loser Awards for the predictions that most spectacularly did NOT come to pass go to:

 (1) The Jones, for predicting that Mitch Daniels would be the Republican presidential front-runner, with Tim Pawlenty “right at his heels.”  (We wish!)

(2) WeCanKnow, a follower of Harold Camping, who insisted that the world would end on May 21.

Honorable mention goes to someone who has placed in this contest I believe each year that we’ve done this:  Cindy Ramos.  She predicted that the Green Bay Packers would win their division this year with a record of 13-3.  She didn’t nail the record exactly–it will be either 15-1 or 14-2 (if, as if likely, the Packers rest their starters against Detroit, the perfect season being gone and the team already with a bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs).  Still, few people expected the Packers to have the kind of season that they did.  Cindy’s prediction I still consider remarkable, and more remarkable still is her record of at least three years making remarkable predictions in this contest.  (She is one of my former students.  I taught her all about how to do effective analysis and interpretation.  Wait a minute.  The Jones is also one of my former students.)

This year’s winner started off making some generalized predictions, then realizing that no one could agree on whether they happened or not, he took a different tactic:

The only way to surefire Prediction Glory is to make a rather unforeseen, falsifiable claim and manage to get it right. So I’ll shoot for the moon and say that some event (death or general incapacity) will cause Kim Jong-Un to succeed his father as leader of North Korea.

Kim Jong-Un!  Who even knew who Kim Jong-Un was this time last year?  But sure enough, with just a couple of weeks left in 2011, he became North Korea’s new dictator.  So all Prediction Glory goes to:  tODD!

 


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