Pastor Patricia Ferris tells the story when she was in Mexico with her husband on New Year’s Eve they found themselves in the middle of something they didn’t understand. It was in the evening, not yet midnight, and the central square was full of people, lights, children, old people, and families. What was interesting was there were tables full of old clay plates. People were buying the plates and then standing back and throwing them full force against one wall of the great Cathedral in the community square, smashing the plates to smithereens.
According to Mrs. Ferris it was loud, raucous and exciting. Only later did she learn the tradition grew out of a deep human need to throw out the old, to start the new year free of old resentments, old fears, old prejudices, and old sins. “Throw them out.” Let them smash against the strong fortress of faith and be done with it. Similar type of activities occur all around the world at the dawning of a new near. It is said in Rome on New Year’s Eve there is a tradition to literally throwing old things out the window to start the new year free from the past.
While these activities may appear obscure there is some merit to rid ourselves of the past and start anew. The psychological term so often used is “carrying baggage.” We all have heard the adage, “start anew and flourish.” “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” However, it is the unusual individual who puts behavior to these sayings. Clutter of the mind as well as the physical environment has proven to be detrimental to the emotional health. What if we began the new year by cleaning out closets of anything we haven’t worn in the past two years? What if we looked at everything in our environment serving no purpose and gave it to charity. Keep in mind I do not support what the Italians do and throw it out the window. And, what about emotional baggage, unspoken and unforgiven relationships and what about not forgiving ourselves for those past “words” or “actions.” Do you need to put Stevie Wonder’s famous words, “I Just Called to Say I Love You” in practice. If you are carrying baggage, God is ready to offer healing in a new year. Happy New Year.