Q: Is New Year’s Day a religious holiday, like Christmas or Easter? I don’t recall anything about it in the Bible, but maybe I missed it. — T. McD.
A: Christmas and Easter celebrate the two most important events in human history: the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, and his death and resurrection from the dead. Both remind us of God’s love for us, and both remind us as well of what it cost Jesus Christ to save us from our sins.
New Year’s Day, on the other hand, simply marks the beginning of another year on our calendar; it doesn’t commemorate any specific event in the Bible. However, in the Old Testament God’s people did celebrate the beginning of what they saw as a new year (although not on Jan. 1). For them it was a day of joy and thanksgiving to God for his goodness. The Bible says, “It is a day for you to sound the trumpets” (Numbers 29:1).
Does this mean we should ignore the beginning of another year or treat it as if it were just another day? No, we shouldn’t. We should take time instead to pause and look back, thanking God for his blessings to us. The Bible reminds us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17).
But we should also take time at the beginning of the year to look forward and to commit our lives into God’s hands. Only God knows what the new year will bring, but when we know Christ we can face the future with confidence, because we know we belong to him. Commit this coming year — and your whole life — to Jesus Christ. You can depend on God’s promise: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or visit www.billygraham.org.