Shanah Tovah Umetukah!May you have a good & sweet new year!
Why am I wishing you a sweet new year in September? Because it is Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year. If ever there was a time for all of us to celebrate this Jewish tradition it would be 2020. Why? Because it is a time of prayer, self-reflection & new beginnings. Most of us can’t wait for this year to be over & start a new one. So don’t…wait that is.
I actually know very little about Jewish traditions. But what I do know is that they are jammed packed with beautiful symbolism, reminders & hope. I can’t come close to touching on the full depth that Rosh Hashanah holds here in a short blog so let me simply offer up these 3 suggestions we all can do to mark the Jewish New Year.
- Pray – don’t over complicate it – just talk to God. Act like you are on the phone with a friend. It’s not about impressing God with the ‘right’ words. It is about spending time communicating with a beloved friend. Sharing your gratitude, fears & heartbreak with the one who loves you more than anyone. Listen for His advice through the movement of the Spirit in your heart & in your mind. Allow His word to speak to you by cracking open your Bible (or opening your app). Set some time aside to break away from the world & just let God love on you by being present with Him.
- Reflect – we need to periodically stop to consider where we are & how we got here before we can move forward. As you spend time with God ask Him to remind you of who He is & reflect on how He has guided and directed you in the past when you let Him. Remember who you are in God’s eyes. Consider the gifts that He has given specifically to you. Are you fully utilizing those gifts? Have you strayed from your first love? Have you allowed the clatter of this world to distract you from the things God has called you to do? Where has sin crept in and put a wall up in your relationship with God?
- Repent, Recommit, Restart – God has promised us new mercies every morning. After prayer & reflection it is time to lay down the hurts, the sins & the distractions at the foot of the cross and start again with a renewed commitment to who God is calling you to be.
If you are serious about wanting a fresh start, I offer you 2 suggestions to make it more ‘real’.
- There is a Jewish tradition of going to a place with moving water & tossing in bread to symbolize the release & cleansing of our sins. Sometimes physically going through the motions of letting go & watching those things float away can recharge our exhausted mind & bodies and give us a fresh energy to sustain our commitments. Try it & take someone with you when you go.
- Share your reflections & recommitment with someone who loves you. Not only does it help cleanse the soul to speak it externally. It will also give you an accountability partner that will help keep you on track in the days to come. OR if you are struggling with the process, the self-reflection, seeing the past clearly or just feel too overwhelmed to find your way forward, reach out to someone you trust. It can be a friend, a counselor, a coach, or a pastor. God never intended for us to navigating this world on our own. That is why he gave us a body of believers to be a part of.
Even if you have never celebrated Rosh Hashanah before, let 2020 be the year you start.
For More information on Rosh Hashanah check out John J Parsons post of “Should Christians Celebrate Rosh Hashanah?”