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New Year’s Day. The Circumcision of the Lord. Saint Basil the Great. [Col. 2:8–12; Luke 2:20–21, 40–52]. Since New Year’s Day is the begin-ning of the days of the year, we ought to gather in our soul those thoughts, feelings and dispositions that would direct our affairs throughout the year in a Christian way. We will find this the moment we bring to mind what New Year’s Day is in the spiritual life. In the spiritual life, New Year’s Day is when one who has been living care-lessly becomes zealous about salva-tion and pleasing God. When one makes this resolution, then all is re-built afresh both internally and ex-ternally, upon new beginnings —the old passes away and all is new. If you have this, renew it; if not, ac-quire it — and for you this will be New Year’s Day. A worthy celebrati-on of the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and of the commemora-tion of Saint Basil the Great are also tied with this. The essence of this change we have mentioned is that a person begins from this moment on to live solely for God, for his salva-tion; whereas previously he lived exclusively for himself, preparing destruction for himself. Now he abandons former habits, all com-forts and all in which he found plea-sure; he cuts off passions and lustful dispositions and takes on works of strict self-denial. Such a change pre-cisely represents what, according to the Apostle, the circumcision of the heart should be. The celebration of the circumcision of the Lord re-minds us of this and obligates us to do it, while St. Basil the Great pro-vides us with an example to follow. So all the themes which crowd our consciousness on New Year’s Day come together into one — our inner renewal through the circumcision of the heart. If it pleases the Lord to give someone this mindset on New Year’s Day — that is, not only to think in such a way, but also to bring all of this into his life — he will celebrate New Year’s Day in a most perfect Christian manner, and will prepare for a Christian passing of the whole year. On the following New Year’s Day he will only have to renew and enliven what he has now taken on.
Saint Theophan the Recluse