On the eighth day after his birth — January 1 — the Lord Jesus was circumcised in the flesh according to the Abrahamic covenant.
In submitting to this Christ confirmed his true human nature. He also fulfilled the letter of the ceremonial law, in order to abolish it. This was also a foreshadowing: as a child, Christ shed his blood in order to fulfill the Law; when the time came, he shed his blood on the Cross in order to abolish the Law.
The Law has come to an end since Christ became an infant, and revealed as the fulfiller of the Law he accepted circumcision and abolished the curse of the Law.
Sabbaths and Circumcision, the proud boast of the Hebrews, have ceased now that Christ has been made manifest, and the spring of grace has shone.
– Canon of the Feast
In this 18th century Russian icon, the Mother of God and an unidentified woman (perhaps the midwife Salome, who appears in icons of the Nativity) offer Christ to the priest. The Child's hands are raised in a gesture of submission to the Jewish law. The priest holds a knife as he prepares to undertake the task.
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