Background: In the Old Rite, the Octave of Christmas (January 1) is the Feast of the Circumcision. In the Novus Ordo, it’s the Solemnity of the Mother of God. I am writing this on January 1.
A little known fact: according to the traditional reckoning, Our Lord was born on Christmas Day (December 25) in the year 1 B.C. The year 1 A.D. began only on the Octave of Christmas. As a result, the first “year of Our Lord” commences with:
1.) The first spilling of the Precious Blood of Jesus in the rite of circumcision.
2.) The application of the Holy Name of Jesus. St. Joseph gave Jesus His Name at the circumcision.
The Baronius Press Missal points out that the rite of circumcision marked a male child’s incorporation or adoption into the Chosen People of Israel. Our Lord did not become a true Israelite, a son of the covenant, until his circumcision.
So it is fitting that we honor Our Lady on this day as the Mother of God, as indicated even in the old rite by Marian prayers in the feast of the circumcision. At his circumcision, the Son of God–already a human being–became a member of the Chosen People to which His Mother belonged. Our Lady could now refer to her Son as a true Israelite, a son of the covenant by the shedding of His Blood, by name Jesus.
And the shedding of this Precious Blood presages the New Covenant in the Blood and Name of Jesus to be instituted at Calvary, where Our Lady became Mother of the Church. And that is why the era of Our Lord begins with January 1, 1 A.D., the circumcision of Our Lord. Every year of Our Lord is a year of the Precious Blood, the Holy Name, and the Mother of God.
May Jesus, Mary, and Joseph bless and keep you in 2018!