End of the year finds elation and trepidation
The end of a year finds many of us filled with elation as well as trepidation. Either we are not quite finished with a project or we are sick and tired of it and need a fresh start. Then again, we are uncertain what the future may hold for us while we are really very comfortable with our situation just as it is.
Throughout our world, civilizations have been celebrating the new year and the first celebration has been traced back to the ancient Babylonians some 4,000 years ago. Their start of a new year began at the first new moon following the vernal equinox. Thus, their year started in the spring.
An early Roman calendar created by Romulus, who was the founder of Rome in the eighth century, had 10 months and 304 days with the new year starting at the vernal equinox. Later, two months were added; Januarius and Febuarius.
This calendar, after many centuries, began to not coincide with the sun and in 46 B. C. Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar which resembles our modern day Gregorian calendar. Januarius 1 marked the beginning of the new year since the Roman god, Janus was the god of beginnings whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Later, in medieval Europe, Christian leaders changed this date to days that had more religious meaning.
January 1 was reestablished by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The Gregorian calendar continues to be the calendar that we use, and January 1 continues to be the start of a new year. In many countries, New Year’s celebrations begin on the evening of December 31st, New Year’s Eve, the last day on the Gregorian calendar, marked by parties, football games, fireworks, and the age-old tradition of making resolutions for the New Year. In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City’s Times Square at the stroke of midnight and singing “Auld Lang Syne.”
Festivities will continue into the early hours of January 1, which is New Year’s Day. The practice of making resolutions for the new year is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises that they might earn favor with the gods and start the year off on the right foot. Then, there is food, and depending in what part of this world you are riding in tradition dictates what you should eat to enhance your chances of health, wealth, and prosperity.
I grew up in Texas and our family would always include black eyed peas for luck and cabbage for wealth to go along with our steak and taters and a slab of pecan pie! Happy New Year!
The Outside Circle
Throughout eternity, there have been a select few,
Asked to begin that long ride,
To stay alert and to the brand be true,
Seeking God’s will to be their guide.
Our Father, thank you for all creation,
As heaven and earth displays,
O Lord, you are our strength and salvation,
And to you we bring our praise.
Soon the bells will ring, the old year will end
With sadness, we say good-by,
And raise a glass with stranger, as well as friend,
As we give the past a sigh.
Our memories linger on tasks accomplished,
And wander to those just begun,
Uncalled for, our thoughts swing from finished to wished,
We linger on races we’ve won.
And yet, is not success just a fleeting thing?
To brightly shine and then to fade,
Into a memory that caused the bells to ring,
One of many in task’s parade.
Then, realization of life begins to seep in,
Success comes from God’s own hand,
He guides you through life, brings you from where you’ve been,
Through Grace, to ride for the brand.
Jesus, born as a babe under Bethlehem’s star,
To live and teach us how to love,
Yet died on the Cross for our sins that He bore,
Rose from the grave to reign above.
We each can have eternal life if we just believe,
Ask that He forgive our sin,
So that His blessed assurance we can receive,
As we feel His Love within.
This gift to all mankind is ours to take,
So, with that thought, we take a knee,
Then we send aloft a prayer for our sake,
That we have life by His decree.
And for the coming New Year with its fresh start,
To graciously guide our trails,
With the great Love and Grace He will impart,
As He puts wind into our sails.
And Lord, we always pray for our Nations plight,
That our freedoms you might save,
Bless the fine women and men that joined the fight,
Home of the Free, Land of the Brave.
Also, for their families that stood so tall,
Bless each one and keep them strong,
Help us to love our neighbor, both great and small,
And in our heart, put a song.
A song that lifts our spirit and quickens our pace,
As we march along without fear,
Trusting You to guide us safely in life’s race,
We pray for a grand New Year!
In life, we ride the outside circle with Your love,
Knowing Your strength keeps us tall,
You guide our trails, fight our wars when push comes to shove,
Through strength, You never let us fall.
And thank you for Jesus, our Savior and Lord,
That sees that we are blessed each day,
And keep our trails smooth and not so very hard.
O Lord, in your name we pray!
© Ol’ Jim Cathey
Ol’ Jim Cathey and his young bride Stella wish each of you a Happy New Year!
Don’t forget your black-eyed peas and cabbage!
God bless each of you and God Bless America!