Q: Did people in the Bible celebrate the start of the new year, like we do today? Or is it only a secular holiday with no particular religious significance? -- Mrs. M.R.
A: Today people across the world are celebrating the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one -- complete with their hopes and dreams for a better world during 2018. Like the ancient prophet, we all yearn for that day when "Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore" (Micah 4:3).
Most people today, however, probably attach little religious significance to New Year's Day; for them it only marks the beginning of another year on the calendar. However, people in the Bible celebrated the end of one year and the beginning of a new year much differently (although their celebrations took place in the fall instead of on Jan. 1, and lasted seven days). For them it marked the end of the harvest season, and was a time of thanksgiving and praise for God's goodness.
The real question, however, is this: What will the beginning of this new year mean to you? Will you only celebrate it as so many do, not thinking about God or how He wants you to live during 2018? Or will you pause to reflect on your life during the past year -- facing your failures honestly, and asking God to forgive you and help you put them behind you?
Most of all, what place will Christ have in your life during the coming year? Don't leave Him out of your life, and don't turn to Him only when you have a problem. Instead, by faith ask Christ to come into your life, and then walk with Him every day. The Bible says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do" (Proverbs 16:3).
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2018 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.