1 January 2011

New Day - New Year

I know I said the same thing last year, but seeing in the (calendar) new year seems to have less and less significance for me. Partly it's not really being able to reclaim meaningfulness for a festival that has only drinking and resolutions in its favour these days (and I'm not a fan of those either). Partly I think it's that it seems a really arbitrary date, I can't attach any real meaning to it. Also, I suppose, I see *every* festival as a new beginning, a season for change and planning, renewal of vows, retrospection and anticipation.

The year, for me, now has more than one beginning.

For the buzz of a fresh slate, I look more to Chinese New Year, which began for us as a cultural touchstone for learning about our friends' celebrations. But I grew to feel my way into the assortment of ritual about it, from new clothes to cleaning, from special foods to noise-making. It's a time I really look to for newness and brightness and declarations of intent. We don't keep the spiritual aspects of it identically, obviously, we are looking to honour our God. :)

Speaking of whom, our Spiritual New Year is in the Autumn. I do rather like that the Jewish day starts with an ending, the sunset. The Jewish year likewise, starts with the end of the harvest. There's a wonderful significance with starting with the rest times, the fallow times. But my western mind also rather likes starting, beginning afresh, with the first touches of green. So Chinese New Year is something I'm really looking forward to again. :)

But on the other hand, the ticking over of days gives me a reminder every time I see the date that something new has started. In a way I don't entirely *feel* but can see frequently. So, since it's a day for starting new calendars and diaries, writing on a blank page, it sort of still IS a time for resolution to me.

Remember me saying about a minute ago that I don't like resolutions? Well, I don't do Should and Ought. I TRY not to do Should and Ought. They are not friendly words, and they don't encourage me to seek joy and truth and love and light. They tell me NO, and I'm like a toddler with that word, it either means "see what you can get away with" or I don't hear it at all. So I don't tell myself what I should do. We write lists together of our hopes and dreams, things we don't need to control or DO, but can dwell in, pray on, and live out.

The Jesse Tree came down, and in its place is a Dream Tree. What will it grow this year? :)

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