Is it okay to celebrate New Year’s Day?

[Re-posted from last year. The football references have not been updated.]

On a discussion board, I’ve been engaged in an oh-so-long discussion re the propriety of a Christian celebrating Christmas. And then someone asked what I planned to do for New Year’s. And something inside me snapped … I really don’t know what came over me … I just found myself typing these words —

sugar.jpgWell, we used to go to New Orleans and watch Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Ah, but those days are past. No more fireworks at Jackson Square followed by beignets and chicory coffee. (But maybe in a couple of years.) Until then, New Year’s just isn’t what it ought to be.

But then, what authority is there in the Bible for such a celebration, anyway? Did Jesus celebrate New Years? In fact, I read somewhere that New Years has its roots in some pagan holiday Although in the first centuries AD the Romans continued celebrating the new year, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism. 

Worse yet, its roots in the West are from the Feast of Circumcision, celebrating Jesus’ circumcision, 8 days after Christmas!But, of course, Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas, so it’s plainly wrong to celebrate New Years.

But then — it seems to be entirely secular nowadays, so maybe it’s okay if we keep it as un-Christian as possible.

But folks at my church like to have New Year’s Eve celebrations together and shoot fireworks (from the pagan Chinese, as I recall). And they want to pray for the new year — which does seem to somehow “Christianize” it. I mean, we sing hymns, pray, fellowship, and it’d be church with a sermon and communion! So that’s clearly wrong and I just don’t think I should ever participate in such a thing.

(And the preacher is really bad to preach on New Year’s resolutions, which go back to ancient Babylon and surely are associated with Baal worship somehow. I really have to fire off a letter!!) 

So, you see, it all comes down to football. There’s nothing wrong with football.

Or beignets.

Wink

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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11 Responses to Is it okay to celebrate New Year’s Day?

  1. Alan says:

    Sure, go ahead and celebrate it. Just take it easy on the punch! 😉

  2. Dave says:

    If you really want to be edified by a real religious experience, go to Nashville and see Kentucky play in a second straight bowl game. ITS A MIRCLE!

  3. Jay Guin says:

    Just wait till next year!

    We'll never be in the Shreveport Weedwacker Bowl (or whatever you call it) again!

  4. Ric says:

    Jay,

    NEVER say NEVER cause its bound to happen. Better be careful and engage in another one of those pagan rituals– knock on wood. It could be a rough 3-4 years it things are as bad as some are saying. St. Nick's might just have some work to do to reach the heights of MSU. And that's from a die-hard tried and true crimson bleeding fan who's always present for church services in the fall at Bryant-Denny cathedral.

    Ric

  5. Jay Guin says:

    Nick is about to sign the number 3 recruiting class in the country (or better). Last year's was a top 10 class. And the players left will be the one who've bought into his program. Watch out MSU! (I can't believe I just typed that. "MSU"! It's all so embarrassing.)

  6. Marcus says:

    Other perspectives you could have about New Year’s Eve Celebrations is to reflect on the meanings given by John Wesley, and many Christians from the African American experience centered around December 31st as the Watch Night.

    1) It is mentioned that John Wesley believed the importance of annually renewing one’s covenant with God. “The Watch Night service focuses on the Christian renewing the covenant of response to the grace of God in Christ. This Methodist tradition was picked up from the Moravians in 1733. See links following links, http://archives.umc.org, or http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/methdism/….

    2) Within the Christian African American custom, the end-of-the-year Watch Night service, also referred to as “Freedom’s Eve” took on special meaning. The eve of 12/31/62 would be the effective action of legal emancipation of slavery by Abraham Lincoln for Black slaves. This meaning was added with the existing value of praising God for making it through another year along with ensuring spiritual preparation for the undetermined time of the coming of Christ. http://www.snopes.com

  7. Matthew says:

    Jay,

    I was hoping the Crimson Tide and the Sooners (both Big Reds) would end up facing each other for the championship. Perhaps next year?

    Matthew

  8. Jay Guin says:

    You know, if you rank 1-loss teams by the ranking of the team they lost to, UA and OU would be in the BCS championship!

    Here's the rule: If you're going to lose, lose early. Losing late is certain death.

  9. Jack Exum Jr says:

    Whatever the background of those who have celebrated New Years… 1.)I know it isn't holy… not unholy… it is just the New Year beginning. 2.) Its a great time to remind people that traditionally it has been a good time for new beginnings. 3.) Although Christ offers a REAL new beginning at any time, this is a good time to refocus and try and keep some of those New Years Resolutions and yes watch football and invest time in youer family. 4.) No problem here with having an all night prayer, fellowship and prayer session… 5.) I am personally not interested in the attempt by some to inforce on Chrsitians the feeling that they must walk on a tight rope with God. "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord." Grow in grace and enjoy the journey.
    In Him,
    Jack

  10. BurntRibs says:

    Jay,

    Do you happen to remember which discussion board this was? Or do you know of any other good Christian boards? I'm always looking for a place to read good Christian discussions.

    Thanks – Josh

  11. Jay Guin says:

    Josh,

    I maintain a list of CoC boards of interest at http://oneinjesus.info/churchjob-finder/links-to-

    You won't lack for good conversation at any of these.

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