Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

A New Year

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The word calendar is not found in Scripture, but the idea is found all over the place. In Exodus 12 when Israel is given instructions regarding how to observe the Passover it is evident that they understand days and months and the concept of recorded time.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.  Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household.”

Throughout the year Israel observed various holidays at specific times. These holidays, or festivals as they were called, drew their attention back to God. They celebrated Passover, a celebration of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. They celebrated Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks which was a celebration of the giving of the law. They celebrated the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles. This was a festival associated with the gathering of the crops. It was also a time when they remembered the 40 years they lived in tents in the wilderness. Israel also celebrated Hanukkah, a holiday that began in the intertestamental period.  It was a celebration of the retaking of the temple that had been possessed and corrupted by a foreign king. The word Hanukkah means dedication and refers to the cleansing and rededication of the temple. In John 10:22-23 we learn that Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of this festival.

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem.  It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.

We know from Scripture that the Israelites had an elaborate calendar that included many festivals that celebrated what God had done in the world, but Israel was not the only one to discover that this world runs on a certain timetable. Even if a person did not have the word of God they could look around and easily see there are four seasons. Agriculture was a way of life for everyone in ancient times.  They knew there was a growing season and a time for harvest. These seasons and different times of the year did not come from Mother Nature. They came from God. Psalm 104:19 states,

He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.

Although the Bible does not mention New Year’s Day or anything about black eyed peas and hog jowl, the idea of a calendar year comes from God. Whether we arrive at this calendar based upon Scripture or based upon the sun, moon, stars, and seasons it does not matter. God gave us Scripture and he also gave us the sun, moon, stars, and seasons. He is the inventor of time. He is the inventor of days, weeks, and months. The Bible opens with the creation account that takes place over seven days.

The calendar that we use every day of the week is not just some secular tool. It is from God and it should remind us of God. God has given us the seasons. He has done certain things in the past that we should remember throughout the year. He has given us the New Year. Rather than setting resolutions that have nothing to do with God, and that we are likely to break in the next week or two, we should rededicate ourselves to the Lord. We should set goals that reflect our Christian faith. God has given us another year. This new year is a blessing from God. What are you going to do with the time God has given you? How are you going to serve him and use your talents wisely in the coming weeks and months? As we begin this new year let us remember the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15-16 and commit ourselves to making decisions that reflect the wisdom of God.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

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