I’m not big on holidays — anybody who knows me knows that — but of all the holidays on our calendar, of all the days we set aside as “special”, perhaps the most POINTLESS one in my opinion is New Year.
Yeah, I know. I’m a humbug. Sue me 😉
(For those of yall who don’t recognize Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump, you have my most profound pity…)
But seriously, why January 1st? What is so spectacular about it, other than seeing a lighted ball drop in Times Square? Admittedly, that’s something you don’t see everyday — hundreds of thousands of people gathered in one place at one time without rioting. But still, there’s nothing to separate this particular day from the other 365 days (Leap Year) of 2016.
What? It’s the beginning of the year? Sure… by the Gregorian standard. The Gregorian calendar is a solar-based calendar, courtesy of Pope Gregory XIII, that we’ve only had since 1582. It was instituted here in the United States in 1752, where it replaced the Julian calendar — virtually identical to the Gregorian, but with January 1st offset by eleven days. Using that calendar, I wouldn’t celebrate New Years until January 14th on the Gregorian. Further, the year wouldn’t be 2016 — it’d be 2015, if you go strictly by the original Julian rather than what it was adjusted to. And of course, the Julian calendar was simply a revision and simplification of the lunar-based Roman calendar.
But what if I hadn’t been born to Western culture? There’s the Chinese New Year, which is on February 8th this year (which my friend Dave and his family will be semi-celebrating hehe). It begins the Year of the Monkey, according to their zodiac which is on a twelve year cycle.
There’s also Israel, where I’d have TWO calendars to choose from — both of which recognize us as currently being in the year 5776, by the way. I could go with the civil calendar, which celebrates its New Year on Tishri 1st, in which case I should’ve celebrated New Year on September 14th (after sunset). I could also go with the religious calendar, which celebrates its year on Nisan 1st, in which case I won’t celebrate New Year until April 9th. And to make matters worse, since the calendar is based on the cycles of the moon rather than the sun, there are only 354 days in the Hebrew year, so each year those dates would be different in the Gregorian! They have to add a whole separate MONTH to their calendar (called Adar II or Ve’Adar, which gets shoved in between Adar I and Nisan) every three years or so to keep things on track!!!
The Islamic calendar, called the Hijri, is just as confusing. It’s also a lunar based calendar, beginning with Muharram 1st, which in 2016 Gregorian (or starting the year 1437 according to the Hijri) won’t be until October 2nd.
Personally, I think the calendar I created for my Facets of Reality series is far more wieldy than any of the previously mentioned calendars. I have five months, each ten weeks long for seventy days total, with a three day festival dividing each month, with the final festival being four days long every fourth year. More precisely, the month of Goldenleaf (Summer to Fall) is seventy days long, with the three (or four) day Festival of Harvest falling five weeks into the month. If I were to celebrate New Year by that calendar, it would be in the middle of the month of Whitesong during the three-day Festival of New Year.
What I’m getting at is that people put far too much emphasis on New Year, in my opinion. People look at the new year with the promise of a fresh start, renewed hope, and all that. They form resolutions as if THIS year they’re gonna get right what they got wrong the previous year. My question is… why New Year? Why do we think that this day, out of 365 (or 366, or 354, or what have you) is so special? What power does THIS day have to give us a fresh start that you cannot find every single morning when you open your eyes?
I wish everybody a Happy New Year — truly I do — because that’s what people want, what they expect. Myself, though? Every day I live is another year that I have lived. This morning I reached another December 31st. Happy New Year to me! Tomorrow I’ll reach another January 1st, if the Lord wills it. Yall can wish me a Happy New Year that day, and I’ll gladly take it. Maybe the day after that, I’ll reach another January 2nd, closing out another year since the last January 2nd I celebrated — the 43rd time I’ve done so! Not a bad streak there.
I’m not saying that I don’t recognize special days. Far from it. Rather, I’m saying that EACH day is special, unique, set apart from all the rest. Maybe in that uniqueness they find commonality, I dunno, but to me, each today is a today that I didn’t have yesterday.
I’ve used the following verse many times regarding our days of worship, or end time prophecies, or various holidays that hold various meanings for us, so it shouldn’t surprise you that I use this verse again. As you celebrate your New Year — whenever you celebrate it — think back on this verse and meditate on what this new year might mean to you…
Psalm 118:24 — This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.