December is a month of many occasions to say Happy New Year. In the liturgical calendar, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas which is usually at the beginning of December. The first season of the new year, Advent is a time of hopeful waiting in the Christian tradition as the faithful prepare again for the coming of the Christ Child, preparing hearts and homes for a new and different arrival in hopes that life will be more complete and more in line with what it means to have Jesus in your heart.
In the world of Creation, the winter solstice begins a new year. All of God's creatures who have scurried into safe and warm places anticipate the coming of longer days and the arrival of more hours of sunlight when December 21st rolls around.
This day, December 24th, might be considered New Year's Eve as we celebrate the birth of the incarnate God, God come to be one of us. Not only do we celebrate the original Incarnation, but also the eternal Incarnation...the indwelling of God in a new and different way leading us forward in grace and peace.
Of course, the secular world celebrates New Year's Eve on December 31st with revelry, drink and fanfare, and there is much symbolism in those festivities as well.
Which will it be for you? I choose to consider today my New Year's Eve as I struggle to make my heart a manger for Jesus, to turn my mind and my life to Peace, and to "go home by another way" going forward.
And so I say "Happy New Year!"