Sunday, February 19, 2012

Promises Promises

Let me have a show of hands. How many have already broken their New Year’s resolutions? Aha. Just as I thought!

So, what are New Year’s resolutions, anyway? Or, is it New Year resolutions? Whatever. How did we get into that good habit? When did all this “promises made, promises broken” begin? I wrote about this two years ago, but it’s worth revisiting.

The celebration of the New Year was first observed in ancient Babylon. Around 2000 BC, Babylonians celebrated the beginning of a new year on what is now March 23.

The tradition of the New Year's celebrations , however, goes back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar. The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. Depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back, he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new. The Romans began a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve by giving one another branches from sacred trees for good fortune.( We party. )
In the Middle Ages, Christians changed New Year's Day to December 25, the birth of Christ. In the sixteenth century, Pope Gregory XIII revised the Julian calendar, and the celebration of the New Year was returned to January 1. 

So, ever since primitive man, New Year’s Day has been recognized as a day on which rites were done to abolish the past so there could be a clean slate for the New Year. But, sorry to say, there is no record of making “resolutions” to do this or that but, there was a strong implication to improve behavior caused by the looking ahead.  
OK. Breaking bad habits is one thing, but renewing good habits is quite another.  Gym? Daily walks?  Being better Christians, like loving your neighbor as yourself. What? Loving your neighbor? Now, that’s tough. Is it ever.   

It’s not the end of the world if you’ve broken your resolutions to stop smoking or overeating. But, it could be the end of your future world, figuratively speaking, if, for one example, you failed to obey Christ’s commandment to love your neighbor. Not liking your neighbor, but loving your neighbor. Respecting. Not gossiping.The condition of our soul is infinitely more important than the condition of our body. That’s not to say that we should be careless with our physical well being, but that we should be just as careful with the condition of our souls.

So, if you have started your diet or thrown away your cigarettes, your physical body will be grateful. But, if, for another example, you’ve returned to church, the gym for your spiritual body, if you will, your soul will be eternally grateful.


Happy New Year.

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