The Word on the Street

New Beginnings

I’ve never understood why we begin the calendar year in January. Fields & forests are barren, skies are grey, the ground is hard and lifeless, & ponds are covered with ice.
One would think April or May would be a better time to begin the new year – trees in bud, birds building nests and laying eggs, crocus and daffodils in bloom. Spring feels more like a starting point, a fresh start, life brimming with promise and possibilities.
The only thing January is good for is cleaning out desk drawers, organizing cupboards, and hibernating. It doesn’t feel like much of a new beginning.

Yet every December 31 we usher out Father Time, and at the stroke of midnight, welcome a kid in a diaper. (How long do you think a kid in a diaper would actually make it in January exposed to the elements?)

I’d much rather end the calendar year with winter. Wrap the calendar year up, say, on April 30 and begin a new year May 1 – that would give us a bit of a buffer if winter lingers and it would also make it after tax day. (We wouldn’t want to begin a new year with the first order of business being the payment of taxes.) Shall we put it to a vote?
I’m not taking issue with our lives needing markers – beginning and ending points. For everything there is a season, after all.

I just don’t get how the northern hemisphere, as the dominant political, economic & cultural force on planet Earth, got stuck with beginning the new year with blistery winter winds – while the southern hemisphere gets to begin their new year with sunshine and warm breezes. Somebody obviously didn’t think this whole Gregorian Calendar business through.

If only Easter were a fixed date in the Spring. Easter would be the perfect time to begin a new year – letting go of the baggage of the past and embracing a Resurrection future – that’s what beginning anew, afresh, and alive is really all about.

At least Advent has given us a jump-start on the New Year. The church’s calendar year begins the First Sunday of Advent and Advent is an important beginning for humanity and all Creation. It reminds us who is ultimately in control of all of life – beginnings and endings – as well as all the transitions in between. And I like having angels a part of Advent and Christmas. I hope to have my own set of wings someday!

My wish for you is a very Merry Christmas and the best of New Year’s!

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