The Circumcision of Christ.
I WAS glad when they said unto me : We will go into the house of the Lord.
2. Our feet shall stand in thy gates : O Jerusalem.
3. Jerusalem is built as a city : that is at unity in itself.
4. For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord : to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord.
5. For there is the seat of judgement : even the seat of the house of David.
6. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee.
7. Peace be within thy walls : and plenteousness within thy palaces.
8. For my brethren and companions’ sakes : I will wish thee prosperity.
9. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God : I will seek to do thee good.
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.
Epistle Reading: Philippians 2.9-13
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 2.15-21
Toon: “The Book of Common Prayer (1662) makes no special provision for the Second Sunday after Christmas (which occurs 4 out of 7 times), but directs that what is provided for the Feast of the Circumcision be used on this day also. Editions of the Prayer Book since 1928 do, however, usually provide Propers for the Second Sunday (see e.g., the PECUSA Prayer Book of 1928).
The Collect is addressed to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by adoption and grace is also our Father. Circumcision was the entrance into the covenant of the Law (Genesis 17:12) and to receive it implied taking on the whole obligation of the Law. It was the Father's will that his Incarnate Son should, as one born of a woman and under the Law, submit to that Law. Thus "when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus" (Luke 2:21). Yet he did not submit to the Law for his own sake, but for ours in order to fulfil in our place our debt to the whole Law of God, ceremonial and moral. He was born to be our Representative and Substitute, whether we be Jew or Gentile. And the shedding of the drops of blood at his circumcision point to the greater shedding of his precious blood for us at Calvary, thirty or so years later.
In the light of this crucial doctrine about the Incarnation, Circumcision and Obedience (active & passive) of Christ Jesus, we earnestly pray for an internal gift of grace, the true circumcision of the Spirit. Not the old circumcision of the flesh but "circumcision of the heart, in the spirit" (Romans 2:28-29). That is, we ask for the action of the Holy Spirit upon our spirits that energised by heavenly power we shall be enabled to cut away all sinful desires from our hearts and to put them to death (mortified - see Colossians 3:15). For it is only when the power of evil desires and habits is dispelled from the various faculties and recesses of the soul, that we are able seriously to obey the will of the Lord, our God, in the name of his blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus, when spiritually circumcised and whether male or female, we are able to present out bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1). Hands, cleansed and ready to work on God's assignments; feet, washed and ready to run his errands of mercy and love; eyes, purified from lust, ready to meditate upon and contemplate God's works and words; ears, cleansed of flattery and enticement, ready to hear the voice of God and the cry of the needy; the tongue, mortified of evil speech and idle words, ready to praise the Lord - in all a living sacrifice!
It seems that Archbishop Thomas Cranmer created this Collect not by translating the Collect in the Sarum Use, but by using and adopting the Latin benediction for this feast. Translated this Benediction runs, "Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son on this day received bodily circumcision, purify your minds by the spiritual circumcision from every allurement of vice, ..."
In conclusion, even as the Litany joins together the Nativity ("made of a woman") and the Circumcision ("made under the law"), so let us celebrate these Events by our faithful use of this Collect to the salvation of our souls and the redemption of our bodies” (http://www.pbs.org.uk/bcp/commentary_detail.php?CommentaryID=8).
For The New Year: "Almighty and Everlasting God, from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift; we give thee thanks for all thy benefits, temporal and spiritual, bestowed upon us in the year past, and we beseech thee of thy goodness, grant us a favorable and joyful year, defend us from all dangers and adversities, and send upon us the fullness of thy blessing; through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever One God, world without end. Amen" ("The Book of Worship: Approved by the General Synod of the Evangelical Reformed Church," 1947, p. 120).