Why all the fuss about New Year’s Day? Can one day really make a difference in our lives? After all, January 1 isn’t really any different than December 31, is it? Well, that all depends on us. It seems most people throughout history have thought celebrating the New Year was pretty important.
The desire to celebrate the starting of a new year is about four millennia old. The Babylonians were the first in recorded history to celebrate the coming of a new year, according to their calendar four thousand years ago. in the year 46 BC, Julius Caesar declared January 1 as a day of celebrating his newly reformed 12-month calendar.
As Christianity began to grow in Europe, the Julian day of celebrating the New Year fell out of practice; they began to emphasize other important days such as Christmas or the Annunciation as the beginning of the new year. However, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII established January 1 on his newly reformed calendar as a day for celebrating the coming new year. As most of the world began to switch over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian (the one most widely used today) different cultures around the world began to develop ways of ringing in the New Year.
But why? Why this need to emphasize starting over. Perhaps it’s because there is an inherent need in all of us for forgiveness. We recognize the things in life we wished we’d done differently. January 1 seems to offer us an opportunity to start over. Of course we can start over any day, but there is something special in knowing there is a collective consciousness in society to begin again all at the same time.
Our inherent need for forgiveness is due to our inherent imperfection as humans; also know as our sinfulness. Sin can best be compared to sickness, and all humanity is sick. The cure for our sickness of sin is always found in Jesus Christ, and He is always willing for us, and encouraging us to repent and begin again with a clean slate.
Maybe that’s why New Years Day is so universally observed; we all need clean slates. We all need to begin again from time to time. I know for me, New Year’s Day is a spiritual experience. On this day I turn to Christ and say, “Thank you for forgiving me over and over again. Help me today to begin again with a fresh, clean slate in my relationship with you and everyone around me.”
So That’s Why
Why all the fuss over New Year’s Day? Because it represents the heart of our God to always let us start over. There aren’t very many things in life that give us a “do-over”, but God does; not just on New Year’s Day, but anytime, anywhere. So, here we are on January 1, 2016. Why not start over? Let’s all confess our sins, both to God and to each other. Let’s all turn to God and our families and tell them we’re sorry for all the ways we let them down this last year, and ask them to not only forgive us, but to give us a “do-over”. I know God will, and I’m betting they will too.
Grace and Peace for a Happy New Year!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.