Well, it’s time for a new year, yet many old traditions seem to hang on.  I was speaking with my 23 yr. old niece, Tameika,  who told me she had called her mom who was feverishly scrubbing her house from top to bottom at the time because,  “If your house isn’t clean at the beginning of the year, it won’t be clean for the rest of the year.”  She obviously has to be done by the stroke of midnight on December 31st or her house will be in dire need of a deep cleaning the entire year of 2008- no matter how much cleaning she does the rest of the year.  The supposition being,  “Whatever you’re doing on the first day of the year, you’ll be doing all year long.”  Of course, this made us think about other New Years traditions/superstitions that have been handed down from generation to generation.  Like, the first visitor of the New Year had to be a man (a female would bring bad luck).  Upon entering, he would pitch his hat in the middle of the floor.  Then, he was to walk through every room of your house.  After that, the residents of the house would offer him either a few dollars or some other kind of reward like a “little snort” (my dad’s pet-name for an  alcoholic beverage).   Now, why all of this was to bring good luck, I have no clue.  I was just a kid, I let my daddy handle that. 

Of course, a New Year’s tradition/superstition that is probably the most well known is the one of black-eyed peas and collard greens.  One must eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day if you want to have money for the upcoming year.  The collard greens represent green money or bills of money.  The black-eyed peas represent your pennies or coins.  For a year that’s full of money, eat yourself full of greens and black-eyed peas on News Year Day! …. Now let’s suppose for a moment that all of these superstitions were true… Who would want to eat collards and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, when that would mean you would be eating them all year long?  But, I suppose, eating them all year long would mean more and more money in your pocket.  Of course, you would be eating these collards and peas in a fabulously clean home, IF you were able to get it cleaned by New Year’s Day!  I suppose, if you were still scrubbing on New Year’s you would be scrubbing furiously for the rest of the year as well.  “Oh, sit down and take a break why don’t you!  Your collards and peas are ready!” 

As for the 1st guest to your home (who has to be a man, mind you), you better go ahead and plan who it’s going to be, because that joker’s going to be coming back all year long!  Getting a free snort and the hard-earned proceeds from your collards and peas… Hm! – Better make him eat some while he’s there!  Better yet, have him take a vacuum around with him as he tours each room of your house.  Who said you had to clean alone? Oh, and “Watch that hat, now!  Watch that hat!” 

Seriously, what many of us call New Year traditions are actually New Year superstitions.  Superstition is defined as a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.  All superstition is based in fear.  Think of someone furiously scrubbing their house from top to bottom- baseboards and all in a feverish heat to have it done by the stroke of midnight on December 31st.  Why should this be so?  The person’s afraid of not having the task completed by the New Year.  They actually believe if it’s not done by New Years, they will have a dirty house the rest of the year.  How many of you know it’s not what you do one day that keeps the house clean the rest of the year- it’s what you do everyday.  A habit is not developed in one day’s time.  It’s what you do over and over again that will affect your home’s cleanliness.   There’s absolutely no need to go around in a mad rush over the first day of the year.  No doubt, this is probably why so many New Year’s resolutions are broken so quickly.  People place too much focus on the time of the year and the “fresh start” of it all.  You can have a fresh start whenever you would like it.  You name the day of your fresh start!  It’s up to you!  Focus more attention on what you’re resolving to do instead of on the date or the deadline you’ve scheduled to begin or end these resolutions.  If the task is important enough to your life to resolve to do it, then it’s important enough to take the time and develop the right habits in order to sustain it. 

Do you want more money in your pocket?  God has a plan for that and it’s called seedtime and harvest- sowing and reaping.  You don’t have to wait for the first day of the year to roll around in order to begin.  God has already provided everything you need.  It’s up to you how far you go in His economy.  You choose by your giving.  Pay your tithes and plant financial “seeds” into good ground.  Find a ministry that God is really moving in and sow some money into it.  Then believe God’s word that he wants to bless you and that He will bless you.  He’s already said it, all you have to do is sow it, believe it, thank him for it, and continue to speak words of belief over that seed instead of negativity.  God’s word will work for you, if you’ll work it!

Now, as for the male visitor who has to be the first person to walk in your house…. Oh, PLEASE!  God’s no respecter of persons nor should you be!  Don’t have a cow if a woman tries to walk into your house and you haven’t had a male visitor!  Invite her in if you like her company.  You don’t need luck!  You need to be blessed!  Let the woman in the house…let the man keep his hat on his head…keep the privacy of your home and sow those dollars into some good ground…Can I get an amen? 

Black-eyed Peas and Collard Greens, anyone? 

Not in my house!