The downside of celebrating this “calendar” holiday is that it locks us into the rigidity of thinking that we can only start afresh when the calendar allows it. And yet every breath offers us a new chance.
Most obviously, it means a new start. Out with the old, in with the new. “Out” with the bad things that happened that “jinxed” the previous year, and “in” with all the hopes and dreams for 2019: good luck, good fortune, happiness, love, joy, peace and bubbly, giddy emotions.
But, really? Can’t we get a fresh start with every heartbeat? The downside of celebrating this “calendar” holiday is that it locks us into the rigidity of thinking that we can only start afresh when the calendar allows it. And yet every breath offers us a new chance. And perhaps we miss all the good of this past year when we focus on the new.
So, what are we celebrating? The New Year is not a religious holiday. But there is something spiritual about it.
The earth completed an entire revolution around the sun over this past year, which takes 365 days. When I contemplate that fact, which I really honestly do from time-to-time, it is amazing. The earth didn’t get tipsy and tumble out of its orbit. It didn’t slip a little closer to the sun, getting sucked in like a bad relationship, so that we were all scorched. Nor did it fail to pay attention to its designated path and drift every-so-slightly away, so that we might have frozen to death.
The sheer delicacy of this orbit is, indeed, something to celebrate! It is something for which I do thank God. Because really, if God even dozed off for a moment, took his hand off the wheel (so to speak), we’d be cinders. Or icicles.
No, everything continues in its glorious, monotonous orbit, thanks be to God. And that’s what might make this a spiritual holiday – a feast day of gratitude that we didn’t slip or slide too far, one way or the other.
All this while the earth managed to complete its revolutions on its own axis, which is beginning to sound like a dizzying, advanced dance step. “Turn on your own axis 365 times while slowly-slowly-lentamente turning once around your partner, never ever deviating in your distance from your partner.”
Why, yes, I think maybe this is cause for celebration. Except that we also completed 365 days of the same thing yesterday. And the day before. And the day before. And, God willing, tomorrow.
The marking of a new year, or the passage of time, is just scratchings on a stone wall, or on paper. Markers, to be sure, but markers with no magical power – no power whatsoever -- to help us or hinder us in our quest to change our habits.
And, we are made fresh and new with every heartbeat and every prayer, and we never need to wait for New Year’s to adopt change, improve our habits. If you make a decision to quit smoking or lose weight, then don’t wait until New Year’s Day. Do it now, any time of year that you resolve to do it. Honestly, to me waiting until New Year’s means you didn’t really resolve to change at all – you just resolved to wait.
If you made New Year’s resolutions, great – I wish you well. But the capacity to change is always inside of you – not just once a year. Be blessed with that thought today – and every day.
Yes, indeed. “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24