On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight maids a milking plus the rest of the list: the swans, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens and of course the obligatory partridge in a pear tree.
If I were Julia Childs or Rhee Drumand I would be thrilled with the culinary shopping cart of poultry, dairy and fruit, and the gold rings could potentially buy some chocolate and champagne, just to round out the food groups. Christmas is filled with such hope and goodness, and then we hit the New Year!
If you were a Jewish boy child, born in the first century, your gift on your eighth day was… circumcision! 
“Yippee,” said no little boy child. As a bonus, you were named on your eighth day. Until the recent past, my denomination, Lutheran called the octave of Christmas, “The Naming and Circumcision of Jesus” Day. Circumcision was emphasized more in the church than the naming of Jesus, which I guess if you were a guy, this would be the most ummm critical?
New Year’s Day is the 8th day of Christmas, and the naming day for Jesus. Mary and Joseph are found in the temple courts and are greeted by an old prophet, Simeon, and an old devout widow named Anna, who both recognize the baby as their Lord and Savior. It is one of my favorite stories of the Christmas season. Life after the baby is born brings such joy and contentment, both Anna and Simeon’s life has been made complete.
For us the New Year celebrations and Christmas collide and pretty soon, life goes back to normal. The trees and decorations get put down and away. The diets begin, and Sunday afternoons are spent watching football, or putting together a puzzle, reading a book, or perhaps enjoying a family game. I wonder, how will we be changed? Or is Christmas meant to change us?
My hope is that our days of “Christmasing” do change us. We have spent dark days, through December, wondering and waiting, thinking about the Christ Child, retelling the stories, singing familiar Christmas Carols, reconnecting with family, making memories to savor later. But will we be changed? My hope is that we all resolve to be better during 2019.
Physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, we can all do better. We can be kinder, more patient, more forgiving, more generous, and more courageous. I’m not sure of the wording on my New Years Resolution, but I do know, and do resolve to do better. Have a Happy and Wonderful new Year Celebration!
- Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com