If you think about it, New Year’s Day is a pretty silly holiday.
I mean, yes, it’s understandable that at some point in the earth’s rotation around the sun, we should mark and observe that event from an astronomical standpoint. That’s entirely valid and essential for record-keeping, stamping dates on coins, taxes, and a very long list of things that are important to accountants, historians, and scholars.
And, yes, it makes sense to commemorate such an event with thoughts of new beginnings and such. (Which is why it seems especially absurd to dedicate such a day to recovering from imbibing an excess of alcohol in the wee hours of the night before.)
But to somehow affix the term “holiday,” which, in its essence means “holy day,” is nothing short of… well, pagan.
We could commemorate the beginning of a new year at any point in the earth’s orbit around the sun. Prior to 45 BC, the Roman calendar marked the new year as beginning in March and lasting 355 days. Julius Caesar picked January 1 to honor the pagan Roman god Janus, who had two faces so he could look back into the past as well as see into the future.
That seems like a pretty nonsensical reason to maintain the current system when we could come up with a far more intelligent and thoughtful time to assign as the beginning of the year.
When we look around the globe, we find that the Chinese do not observe the New Year until February 10 this year. The Hindu New Year, Puthandu, takes place on April 14. Muslims will not celebrate the New Year until July 7 in 2024. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins on October 2.
In fact, if you look it up, there is some culture somewhere in the world celebrating a new year pretty much every month of the year –except August, which is also the very same month in which most people in the United States have the least number of paid holidays off.
Sooooo, logically, it would seem far better to have a day off in August when we have no holidays off than to arbitrarily stack New Year’s Day a week after all the big Christmas celebrations. I mean, I could go fishing for an extra day or have a barbeque or there could be some special baseball game or something. I would certainly appreciate an extra day off in the summer rather than right after Christmas when it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon.
Plus, if we were to change New Year’s Day to August (A word which means “respected and impressive.”) we might just get ourselves into the mood to start thinking about those Latin words which come after the number –“anno Domini” which is short for “”anno Domini nostri Jesu Christi” –which means, “In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” And that phrase, that beautiful phrase, acknowledges not only that Jesus is King, LORD, and Messiah, but that His coming into this world changed absolutely everything –right down to how we count the very years that have passed since He came and walked among us.
Truth be told, I’d happily settle for leaving New Year’s Day right where it’s at and focus on Jesus as King, LORD, and Messiah because that is a Holy Day worth celebrating.
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (NIV)