I was amused when a retired priest, who came to celebrate this morning, wished me "a Happy Secular New Year" this morning. He was of course mindful that the Church's New Year began on 1st Sunday of Advent. Of Course in England the New Year used to begin on the Feast of the Annunciation, which is the original feast of Mary's Motherhood. I am sure someone will know when it the 1st of January became widely recognised as New Years day.
Up until recently today's feast had the title of the "The Circumcision of the Lord", it must have been incredibly embarrassing for nuns to explain to little girls, but today it seems a shame that we do not remember this very Jewish aspect of the Lord's life, such glorious material to preach on, especially when according to the Jewish Council of great Britain there is a rise of anti-semitism in Europe and the US.
The Circumcision reminds us of the very Jewishness of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, of the importance of Jewish ritual and Law in his life. As lovely as it is to think of the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God, Theotokos, earlier title of the Feast gives us an great deal of catechetical material. I have no knowledge of why this feast's name should be changed but it does seem paradoxical that it should happen after the Council which called us to be ever more conscious of the Jewish origins of our faith.