The First Day of the Rest of the Year

Around this time of year, we see on TV and the Internet all sorts of lists of the most memorable events of the past year, as we try to put the past year in perspective. I have to admit, I enjoy those lists as well. Here, however, I thought I would list seven reasons why January 1st itself is of significance.

(1) Mary, Mother of God. January 1st is the feast of Mary’s maternity: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman . . .” (Gal. 4:4). For more on the Church’s teaching see CUF’s Faith Fact on the subject. And don’t forget, it’s a holy day (get to Mass!).

(2) Circumcision. The Church has traditionally recalled on this date Our Lord’s circumcision (Lk. 2:21), in which the Child Jesus was subjected to the rite of admission to God’s covenant with Abraham. “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Gal. 4:4) to save us. 

(3) World Day of Prayer for Peace. How can the universal aspiration for peace be far from our hearts as we begin the New Year? Read Pope Benedict’s message for this occasion.

(4) New Year’s Resolutions. I jumped the gun and started my diet and renewed my elusive quest for “abs of steel” two days ago (I’ve lost two pounds already!). But even more, now is a good time to make spiritual resolutions and personal changes that go beyond putting padlocks on the refrigerator at night.

(5) Presidential Elections and Olympics. These quadrennial events are always fascinating to me, and this year they seem to have added significance. The presidential election seems totally up for grabs at this time, and this year’s Olympics will bring China, which seems to fly under the radar given the continual conflict in the Middle East, under greater international scrutiny as it hosts the festivities.

(6) CUF turns 40. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Credo of the People of God and Humanae Vitae, and it also marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of CUF in 1968 by H. Lyman Stebbins. It’s not too early to plan on attending CUF’s 40th anniversary celebration this coming October.

(7) Bowl Games. Let’s face it: Even with the unsatisfactory BCS system, most of us will watch plenty of football on January 1st. I think the most interesting matchup of the day will feature our own Missouri Tigers vs. the Arkansas Razorbacks. I think the best team–and the likely winner of a playoff if they actually had a fair way of doing it–is USC, which will trounce Illinois in the Rose Bowl (as much as I hate to admit it). You heard it here . . .

A blessed January 1st (and beyond) to all of you!

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