The first of January is a special day in the Christian calendar but not because it is the beginning of the civil year.

In fact, the first of January is the eighth day since the birth of Jesus (on Christmas Eve) and therefore, in Christian tradition, it is the day that commemorates the circumcision of Jesus, the Jewish child, born more than 2000 years ago. As it is written in the Gospel of Saint Luke:

"After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb" (Lk 2:21).

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A Byzantine icon from Tripoli, Lebanon

In the Latin tradition the feast was also known as the commemoration of the name of Jesus.

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This same day also became a special feast for the Blessed Mother of Jesus, Mary. And in modern times, provided another occasion to pray for peace in the world. On this day, the Pope publishes a special letter about peace in the world.

The letter of Pope Francis for the year 2018 can be found here:
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