New Year’s Traditions

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:16-18 ESV).

As we approach the New Year, I am reminded of the many traditions that surround the celebration. Each of them has an interesting thought. Perhaps you have some that have become traditional in your celebration. Here is a brief list of some of those traditions and their “meanings”:

  • Kissing at midnight. We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with others, but also to ensure that those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at that time would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.
  • Nothing Goes Out. Nothing, absolutely nothing, not even garbage is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you’ve presents to deliver on New Year’s Day, leave them in the car overnight. Don’t so much as shake out a rug or take the empties to the recycle bin. The thought is that the year must begin with something’s being added to the home before anything subtracts from it.
  • Black-Eyes Peas. A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will attract both general good luck and money in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.
  • Letting the Old Year Out. At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. He must leave before the New Year can come in, says popular wisdom, so doors are flung open to assist him in finding his way out.
  • Loud Noise. Make as much noise as possible at midnight. You’re not just celebrating; you’re scaring away evil spirits. According to widespread superstition, evil spirits and the Devil himself hate loud noise. We celebrate by making as much of a din as possible not just as an expression of joy at having a new year at our disposal, but also to make sure the devil and his minions don’t stick around.

Of course these are mere fables and superstitions. Yet, there are many people who observe them. I’m afraid I have been guilty of having black-eyed peas for many years! The truth is that none of these or others that surround New Year’s is a means to good fortune. There is only one way to “life.” That is through faith in Christ. Our reading this morning is very clear. As foolish as it may sound to some, the power of God at work in us is through Christ, and that is initiated through faith. This year, examine your faith. Turn your complete attention to Christ. That will make your new year the best ever!