The minute I started thinking about that opening sentence, two more “New Year’s” sprang to mind: Advent I which began our new liturgical year on November 27, and the beginning of the academic year in September, which tends to be the de facto new year for families with children in school on for people who work in academic settings. Some Christians felt that Easter should mark the new year, although that never took hold.
January 1 is a calendar marker of new beginnings, of new starts and fresh good intentions. It’s observance is a good excuse for a party and a little lighthearted fun. And that is absolutely fine if not celebrated to excess.
But what I would like to suggest is that scripture offers us a much more expansive vision of new year and it’s not calendar driven. It’s driven by the heart to turn afresh to God, to embrace the New Creation promised us in Christ Jesus. That New Year begins any time the heart is ready and is supported by the forgiving and all embracing love and grace of God who does not abandon us to good intentions alone without empowering us through the Holy Spirit to accomplish, not what serves our worldly desires, but the divine desire for wholeness and peace for all.
So in the spirit of that New Year, may God bless your new beginnings!