December 31st, already?
Had to do a little double take when I saw the date on my phone today. It’s really the last day of 2013, I see.
The house bustles nearly as hurriedly as Twitter does – everyone getting ready for plans, for dates, for drinks, for the new year.
The new year! 2014!
When it comes down to it…I don’t really care about this holiday. Sure, sure, it’s a good time to meet with friends and family, make plans for the year coming up, to toss nostalgia down with a drink, but what are we truly celebrating?
The new year? Which one?
The liturgical new year starts with Advent. The academic new year starts with Labor Day and the fun new summer set starts with Memorial Day. Even the calendar year could start with your birthday if that’s how you were measuring things.
So we’re making all these plans, spending all this money, dealing with all this stress so soon after Christmas Day, to what – celebrate the solar cycle that does little more than affect the seasons and change the weather?
That’s a weird reason to celebrate, and for Catholics – and any one else who is hesitant to let their long-awaited holiday go quickly – Christmas is 12 days long and actually goes until the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. Can we actually celebrate a holiday smack dab in the middle of a holiday season we’re already celebrating? Can you actually celebrate two holidays at once…?
(And I don’t know about you, but I much rather prefer the joyous stress of Christmas than the nostalgic hub-bub of New Year’s Eve).
I think what everyone loves is the anticipation of newness. New beginnings, new possibilities, and new potential to go with the new calendar year.
The anticipation of newness. That’s something worth celebrating, indeed. Wouldn’t it be nice if this holiday came around more often? We all need a reason to put on dressy clothes, crank up the swanky jazz, sprinkle a little glitter on the table, and toast with friends to friends. A toast to memories of old and more to come.
The thing of it is, guys – we do have this reason to celebrate every waking minute.
You are all under no obligation to be the same person you were yesterday. This morning. An hour ago.
Time is nothing without newness. Every second is a new one – every day is a new one.
Why don’t we celebrate that more often?
We should be ending every night with an uncorked bottle of champagne – our dear old Winston Churchill once said “I could not live without champagne; in victory I deserve it; in defeat I need it” – and a brave face and nostalgic smile.
Why don’t we more often celebrate the day rather than the year, and prepare for the day ahead? Why do we only take the time to say our thanks on Thanksgiving, to share our love on Christmas, to remember the past on New Year’s Eve?
Because these are holidays?
Bullshit – these are holy days and every single day we are alive on this earth praising God is a holy day.
We can give thanks and share love and remember the past any second of any day that we want – and I will!
Make every day a holiday holy day – make every night New Day’s Eve – give yourself a real reason to celebrate!
When we live as if newness only comes around once a year, we wake up on January 1st disappointed or disillusioned or hung over – and the newness has blended back into the monotony that is cleaning up glitter from the cracks in the floor and the cracks in our hearts.
When we make a new year’s resolution (these are the worst) and we fail by the first week of January, why do we shrug and wait until next year? Make a new day resolution! I mean, let’s be honest, reader. Telling yourself to floss today is a lot easier than saying you’ll floss 365 days in a row. Why do we make resolutions – why do we think we need new year new me?
Sure, some things need to change. But why do we wait until a holiday that simply marks the changing of the calendar year?
What does your clock count down to? Does each tick count down to a certain day when things should look brighter? Or does it remind you how quickly time moves and that you’ve lost precious time seizing the day that is almost over?
Time is a construct – but newness is not.
Time is a construct – but newness just is.
Newness – every breath, every step, every confession, every tick of the clock, every smile, every hug, every memory – these are the things that can never be repeated. These are the things that must be celebrated every single holy day of your life for as long as you have the opportunity.
We don’t just celebrate because of the anticipation of newness, we celebrate because of what we leave behind. The oldness can be just as magical – and the literal translation of that famed holiday song is old long since and did you know that’s what Auld Lang Syne really meant?
Did you know that Auld Lang Syne is simply about celebrating for the sake of old times long ago?
We always seem to forget that New Year’s Eve is not just about the new year approaching – yes, newness is a whimsical giddying intoxicating experience, but oldness is strong and steady and arms wrapped around your heart and isn’t that important too?
To those who say good riddance to the old year – it got you here, today, alive, did it not? Will you not live to see another day if you’ve lived through these last 365?
I’ll be honest…I’m excited for 2014.
But mostly I’m excited for tonight. And tomorrow. And the day after that and the day after that and every second that I am alive to celebrate these holy days.
Holy days filled with holy people and blessed, sweet newness. This is what I celebrate tonight.
This is what I wish for myself and for everyone tonight.
And God willing I will celebrate the holy days filled with holy people and that blessed, sweet newness every new day I am given.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne!
So I leave you, 2013, with thanks and a bittersweet farewell. And I greet you, 2014, with nervous anticipation and a raised glass.
But I also know in my heart in my head that time is a construct – newness is forever.
Newness is forever, no matter how many seconds tick by.
Make every day of 2014 a holy day holiday.
Make every day count.
Make every day new.
Go ahead, drink and make the resolutions and throw the glitter and blow the horns and clash the cymbals and kiss your cat at the ball drop (please tell me I’m not the only one who does that)!
But just remember that tomorrow night deserves a celebration just like that. Every day deserves a celebration like that.
Because every day that you are given is a holy one, and you’re a holy person.
And as a fun aside – Happy Eve of the Feast of the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God! Can not forget that holy day holiday!