I’ll never forget my first New Year’s day living in Pennsport. New Year’s day used to be no big deal for me. The party was on New Year’s Eve and the New Year’s day was just for sleeping in and then catching up on things. So I had planned a full work day as there were a couple projects I was trying to get done. I walked to my office around 10am and starting noticing that there were a lot of people around, but I didn’t think anything of it. Then around noon I started hearing some music. I went to look out and that is when I learned that the real New Year’s Day parade is on 2nd street (which the church building is right off of) and starts around noon and goes to midnight. Say what you want about the Mummers, but they sure do know how to celebrate. Thousands and thousands of people descend on my neighborhood and they party in the street late into the night. This was a complete culture shock for me and needless to say, I didn’t get any work done that day. However, I was grateful for the fresh reminder of the capacity that God has given us for celebration.
God made us to be celebrators. Just take the Psalms for example (the first song book and the only one that is truly inspired). Psalms is all about celebrating, shouting, playing loud instruments, making new and creative songs. There is joy all over the place. Christianity is not meant to be this rigid religion where we sing ancient songs in solemn tones. It is meant to be the celebration of a vibrant relationship that we have with God made possible through the gospel.
So when I see the celebration that takes place in my neighborhood on New Year’s day, I enter into it, I have fun with it, but it is nothing to the joy I feel as I gather with you each and every Sunday and we joyfully celebrate together, not a New Year, but our New Life.
I’ve gotten some questions about whether or not we will have our church service on New Year’s day. Parking is going to be a challenge and what is going on around us could be really distracting. However, I still want us to have our church service, not to try to compete with the Mummers, but to enter into the celebration with something even greater to celebrate. So even though most of us will have had a late night the night before, let’s still be committed to gathering together on New Years and expressing our great joy, in our great God, together.
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