New Year's Day comes at just the right time. Daylight hours are at their fewest and dreariest. Nights go on forever. The weather stinks. Above the Mason-Dixon Line, there are only two colors in the natural world: faded green and gray. The frenetic idiocy of Christmas has come and gone and we survived, if barely.
Call me sappy and sentimental if you like, but Christmas decades before the electronic age was much better. The meaning of "Being in the Christmas spirit" then was wanting to give to those who meant something to you – in appreciation for their existence. Giving something you made yourself was good enough; maybe even better than buying something. And if you bought something, it didn't matter if it was the latest fad. Neither was there any, "Shoot! They gave me something. Now I have to go get them something." Also, I hate to be the one to point it out, but Jesus ISN'T the reason for the season. There was a seasonal celebration long before the concept of Jesus was plugged into it. And it's highly unlikely his birthday was anyplace close to the 25th of December. I'm not an atheist, but a fact is a fact. And if, like me, you fairly recently (three and a half years ago) lost a spouse whose birthday was Christmas Day, then Christmas stinks no matter how you look at it.
The thing about New Year's is that it's all about hope – just when we need it most. At the dreariest time of all, there is hope that the coming year will be better than the one we're leaving behind. That hope may fade into the distance by March, but for now we're as optimistic as we'll ever be, and there are few things in life better than that.
Happy New Year!
Causes Stephen Kata Supports