31 December 2015

Is New Year's Eve something like a secular Lent?

Over the past few days leading up to the celebration of the New Year, people across the world have given thought to their resolutions, by which is generally meant ways they might improve themselves.

Because the majority of people who make a New Year's resolution (however much care has been given to it) have no real intention of keeping them for more than a week or two into the new year, I have never taken such resolutions seriously. This morning, though, it occurred to me that New Year's Eve might be something like the secular version of Lent.

Lent, of course, begins with penance and sorrow for sins and and culminates in the great joy of the celebration of Easter. Throughout the season of Lent, we give something up or take on something additional (or both) with the goal - which is often forgotten - of helping us to grow in greater conformity to Christ.

New Year's Eve begins with the (usually) sad remembrance of the past year and hopes for the new year, and culminates in the celebration of the ticking of a clock (curious as that might be in a digital age). Before the stroke of midnight, a person should a resolution for the new year to become a better person, as it is often put.  

Why do so many people fail to keep their New Year's resolutions? Our fallen human nature is certainly part of the answer, but part of the answer might also lie in the fact that there are no helps in the new year to encourage or remind a resolver about what he has committed himself to do. There is no real accountability; the resolution is simply up to the one making it.

Here, then, we see part of the beauty of Lent, which is not an individual but a communal act. While we decide to give something up or to do something extra on our own, we see others keeping their Lenten penances and are reminded about our own. What is more, our penances are made between us and God, which is why people regret breaking their Lenten penance (I've never known anyone to regret not keeping a New Year's resolution.)

29 December 2015

Islamic State Ongoing Updates - December 2015

Previous Updates: November 2015 | October 2015 | September 2015 | August 2015 | July 2015 | June 2015 | May 2015 | April 2015 | March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015 | December 2014 | November 2014 | October 2014 | April - November 2014

31 December 2015
30 December 2015
29 December 2015
28 December 2015
27 December 2015
26 December 2015 
25 December 2015
24 December 2015
23 December 2015
22 December 2015
21 December 2015
20 December 2015
18 December 2015
17 December 2015
16 December 2015
15 December 2015
14 December 2015
13 December 2015
12 December 2015
11 December 2015
10 December 2015
9 December 2015
8 December 2015
7 December 2015
6 December 2015
5 December 2015
4 December 2015
3 December 2015
2 December 2015
1 December 2015