NEW YEAR’S DAY, AS WE KNOW IT, IS OBSERVED ON JANUARY 1, a relatively new date based on the modern Gregorian calendar. The earliest observance by the Chinese originated in 2000 BC from an ancient Chinese legend of the monster Nian and fell on the first day of the lunar calendar, normally bet. Jan 20 and Feb 20. Or you could pick the Babylonian start. Same time, only tied to the vernal equinox.
The Greeks tied it to the winter solstice but didn’t quite get the right date. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar established January 1 as New Year’s day, naming the month after the two-faced god Janus, who looked forward and back. Christians were all over the map, many observing March 25. Eventually and for assorted reasons, they went back to the pagan date of Jan. 1. Even today, many cultures—Cambodian, Thai, Vietnam, Jewish, India—celebrate on widely varying dates.
I’m not a New Year’s eve person. The pagan roots of the celebration leave many either drunk or empty of any realistic self-improvement. New Year’s day itself is okay, but the Eve business leaves me cold and in bed by 9 PM.
There are, however, NEW THINGS worth thinking about on New Year’s day:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
Now, that’s NEW I can live with!
Have time this New Year to do some reading? If you haven’t already read these, here’s your chance:
The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David http://tinyurl.com/nf5o63d