As January 1st approaches, I am pondering the turning of the calendar. The fact that much of the civilized world celebrates the minute the clock strikes midnight is really quite profound. Every country has a tradition that is practiced by a large percentage of its population.
You are probably familiar with the tradition in the United States of kissing at midnight, but did you know the practice is rooted in the belief that it is an auspicious gesture that purifies everything that is evil?
In the American South, many believe that black-eyed peas symbolize coins and eating them insured economic prosperity for the coming year.
In some Latin American countries, including Mexico and Brazil, it's believed the color of one’s undergarments will influence what kind of year they’ll have. Tradition holds that yellow underwear will bring prosperity and success, red will bring love and romance, white will lead to peace and harmony and green will ensure health and well-being.
In Wales, the door of the house is first opened and then immediately shut. This symbolizes releasing the old year and locking out all the bad luck it brought. At the 12th toll of the clock, the door is reopened to welcome the New Year will all its goodness, luck and prosperity.
I find it interesting that many of the New Year’s traditions have to do with getting rid of bad and bringing goodness our way. There is something attractive to humans about getting another chance for an auspicious outcome. The New Year seems to represent the ultimate “Do Over” and a hope that things will be better going forward. Millions of people show up every year in Times Square to watch The Ball drop at midnight and millions of others across the world watch it on TV. We celebrate the old year being gone along with it challenges, and the year ahead being new and full of hope for better.
I think life with God, can be like New Year’s Eve in Wales. By releasing the bad when I am in need, through prayerfully opening the door of my heart to God and admitting my shortcomings, in the amount of time it takes for the clock to toll 12 times, Grace will usher in goodness. This New Year’s Eve, I invite you to do more than engage in traditions that are rooted in vague beliefs based on superstition. But rather, open the door of your heart to God, letting shortcomings, shame, disappointment, or any other “bad” out. Then keep it open, letting Grace bring in goodness, molding you into a New Creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17
If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Happy New Year!
About the Author
Denise Jubber is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Spiritual Director who is passionate about supporting people as they navigate various seasons of life.
She is acquainted with the complicated issues of life, yet knows God can bring about good change and significant personal growth even through seasons of difficulty and struggles.