Bringing in the New Year, or Not

Free to Use & Public Domain New Year Clip ArtGrowing up in the Church of God, I learned clearly why I needed to reject holidays like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. These major holidays are very easy to identify with their pagan origins and the gods they honored.

Yet, for some reason, I would come to New Year’s Eve, which is given no religious significance by modern society, Christian or otherwise (there are always exceptions, of course), and I was drawn to the celebration. You see, I love fireworks, and New Year’s Eve is one of only two times in the year the fireworks stands are open for business.

I would think to myself, “People aren’t tagging Jesus Christ for New Year’s, so is it really a big deal to celebrate with fireworks, champagne, streamers, and party favors, as we move from one year into the next?”

Some may follow the logical fallacy from paganism to Jesus as they attempt to Christianize other holidays, and in that logical fallacy may be the self-soothing comfort that at least they’ve Christianized a pagan holiday. But what could possibly be a reason for not celebrating New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve is the celebration of a new year as instituted in ancient Roman times by Julius Caesar. But most people do not realize that the Bible reveals springtime as the beginning of a new year. That fact may seem somewhat unimportant in the scheme of things, but the New Year’s Eve celebration comes with other ungodly foundations.

  1. Honored at this time in ancient Roman culture was Janus, the name from which is derived, “January,” the god of doors and gates. He had two faces, one to look back at the failures and successes of the previous year, and one to look forward to planning a successful year.
  2. Traditionally, this was considered a good time for drunken orgies to re-enact the belief in a chaotic world before the cosmos was put in order by the gods.
  3. Traditional Christianity did actually tag Jesus for January 1st, though it is not widely known. That day was erroneously marked as the day on which Jesus’ circumcision took place. This act served to initiate the reign of Christianity and the death of Judaism. For centuries, this error led to brutal persecution of Jews around this time of year.

In the end, the decision to observe or not to observe New Year’s celebrations is tied to the same principle as the decision about other major holidays in Christendom or secular culture. Am I going to reason an excuse to observe or am I going to turn from my ways and observe God’s way?

The New Year as ordained by God happens in the springtime and hosts Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. At that time we find another door opened in which one does not look back, except to be reminded of what has been offered through that entry. That door is Jesus the Messiah who came to offer a way of salvation for all of humanity. By Christ’s sacrifice, a doorway to total forgiveness has been opened. As the Days of Unleavened Bread picture, this glorious threshold begins the process of being lead out of slavery, the ways of this world, to freedom from sin as we follow a Good Shepherd who can take us safely through any obstacle.

These are important thoughts and ideas to consider, because that which is offered by this society, with its glitter and celebration, does not encourage us to follow and honor God as God desires to be honored.

Yes, I love fireworks, but I don’t want to love them more than God. And, if it had to be, I would never shoot another firework again if they were only used for pagan rituals. I enjoy champagne and celebration — for certain I do — but God offers me plenty of opportunity for celebration and champagne, in moderation, in the days He already ordains as holy.

Please consider these references, Deuteronomy 12:29-32; Leviticus 23; John 4:22-24.

This article is essentially a day late and a dollar short, since most of the celebration related to the New Year is over and done with, but there’s next year by the Roman calendar. What then will you do to honor Christ? Coming still are the Spring Holy Days. What can you do to celebrate new beginnings? What can you do to honor Christ?

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