Tuesday, September 30, 2008

happy new year!!

Happy New Year!!!

You may find that a strange greeting for this time of year, however, that is what today is! At least in the Jewish calendar. This is the holiday of Rosh Hashana, the Feast of Trumpets (or the Day of the Shofar Blast), the second holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Preceded by thirty days of preparation for the Holy Days --confessing sins, seeking forgiveness, making amends-- Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year and begins the High Holy days, called the Ten Days of Awe.

Traditionally, for the Jews, the Ten Days of Awe are a time of introspection, of taking stock of one's behavior over the past year. It is a time of self-examination, of looking deeply into who one truly is and how one has lived that out. For the Jews, this period is ended with the most Holy day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is a day of fasting, prayer, and confession, and the one gracious day each year that an individual could receive forgiveness.

Though I am not Jewish, as a believing Christian, I think there is much value to be gained by delving into our rich Biblical heritage. The history is interesting and instructional, but there is also much to be gained by looking into it from the perspective of what it teaches us about Who God is or about how we should behave.
One theme of Rosh Hashana is the celebration of the new year-- and the creation of the earth. God is the creator of heaven and earth, and it is celebrated with the trumpet blasts! Another theme is the celebration of the royalty of God. He is our King, and He is to be treated and worshipped as such. Many times we take His Kingship lightly and forget what it is to treat Him as a king should be treated. He is royalty...He is the King! We should bow our knee, and our hearts, in honor of Who He is.

I do, especially, like the thought of using these days for self-examination... for introspection regarding my walk with God and with my fellow man. Where am I at in my relationship with God? Am I growing spiritually, or am I merely coasting? Is my relationship with God reflected in my relationships with others? It is good to take the time to focus on these questions... to look inside, to see what lies beneath, and also to ask God to show me what He sees.

And, so, I wish you Happy New Year, my friends! And Happy Introspection! Won't you join me in the celebration of these Holy days....

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