DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Did people in biblical times celebrate New Year’s Day, like we do now? Or is it only a holiday that doesn’t have any religious significance, but just celebrates the beginning of another year? — M.M.
DEAR M.M.: Every year, God’s people in Old Testament times celebrated the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one (just as people of Jewish heritage do today). Their calendar was somewhat different from ours, and this celebration always occurred in the fall.
For most people today, New Year’s probably has little religious significance; it only marks the beginning of another year. However, people in Bible times saw the end of one year and the beginning of another very differently.
For them, it marked the end of the annual harvest and reminded them of God’s goodness to them. In fact, they celebrated one of their major annual festivals then, setting aside time to thank God for his kindness and mercy (see Leviticus 23:16).
What will the end of this year and the beginning of the new one mean to you? Will you celebrate it as so many do, not even thinking about God or how he wants them to live? Or will you pause to look back over the past year, thanking God for his goodness, and seeking his forgiveness for the ways you failed?
Most of all, will you pause and commit the coming year — and your whole life — to Jesus Christ? Only God knows what the future holds, either for us as individuals or for our world. But when we know Christ, we know we belong to him, and we are securely in his hands forever. Let the Psalmist’s words be your guide: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him” (Psalm 37:5).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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