Does the Bible recommend New Year’s resolutions? Does the Bible even advocate celebrating the New Year? Actually, New Year’s is a huge feast in the Old Testament but the timing and style is totally different than our modern one. The name is different too: Feast of Trumpets.
Israel followed a sacred calendar that put the beginning of the year in what we call September/October instead of January. Their month was called Tishri (still used by Jews today) and it had 30 days. It was God who proclaimed the feast. “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord.’” (Leviticus 23:24-25)
We might compare the blowing of trumpets with the noisemakers and fireworks of today but the people were being called to rest, not activity. They were also being called to present a sacrifice to the Lord and to prepare for the solemnest feast of all: the Day of Atonement that fell on the tenth day of Tishri.
Our modern resolutions tend to be “goal” oriented but the Israelites’ were “God” oriented. While we might feel inspired to lose weight, start a new career or learn a musical instrument our spiritual ancestors quieted down, presented themselves before an awesome God and contemplated their need for repentance.
Think about it. These may not be typical but perhaps they are more worthy resolutions than all the usual ones we come up with year after year. After all, who could resist starting off the year with rest? Not sleeping in or sloughing off but resting in the Lord. What a relaxing way to celebrate the start of a brand New Year.
What about a sacrifice to the Lord? We don’t kill bulls and rams anymore but we can follow Paul’s admonition: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Our final “resolution” for the New Year? Prepare for our own personal Day of Atonement by examining ourselves deeply and repenting of sin. Lifting away the heaviness of sin is better than losing any amount of natural pounds.
For those who are sick and tired of typical New Year’s celebrations or who break all their resolutions in the first week, why not try an alternative? Enjoy!