Yes, Shana Tova — “a good year” — to you! And may it be a sweet one. And blessed and magnificent. I like this idea of having a separate new year. I like it a lot.
Lately, I’ve been in a “newness” frame of mind, letting go of toxins and disappointments, ready for this new season of autumn. I didn’t realize until earlier this morning that today at sundown started Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.
But it all blends together perfectly. And it makes me wonder if, during genealogy research, I really do have Jewish blood. : ) (I found a link to our family, generations ago, that claimed they were Jewish and came from Jerusalem, then settled in England, but they had no proof, just stories handed down to them. It would be wonderful to find out that this was true. I’d be a Messianic Jew then.
Have always been drawn to Jewish culture and traditions, as that helps me understand more of the world of Jesus. It can get dangerous sometimes to interpret Scripture based on your knowledge only of the time you live in.
For example, I once heard someone say how they were going to “put coals on the heads of their enemies,” figuratively, of course, based on a piece of Scripture they read. Well, that’s certainly not God’s heart — and little did they realize that that was a blessing — because baskets were often carried on the head, and if you gave someone coals on the head, it would be in a basket and they could use the coals to keep warm. (And I can’t remember where I heard that, but I do remember it was from a source I trusted.) But anyway. I digress. Again.
Along with letting go, I just started working on my dream-casting collage. It’s a creative way for me to remember God’s promises, along with what He’s put in my heart, the desires there. So far, I’ve found pictures of trips to Europe and Australia and New Zealand, along with some of gardens and catching fireflies and peanut butter and banana sandwiches on whole-wheat bread. (Hey, I’m just getting started. ; )
I’m basing this artistic endeavor on Habakkuk 2:2, when God says to write down the vision. Instead of stone tablets, I’m using poster board. Instead of words, I’m using pictures. And maybe if they’d had magazines back then, He would’ve told them about setting it down in a collage. He might’ve. ; ) Also, Romans 4:17 describes God as “the one Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed” (Amplified). I love that. For those promises that seem unfulfilled as yet or completely gone, there is still hope. And it’s always better to hope than to give in to despair.
Just this evening, I read that one tradition of Rosh Hashana was to go to an ocean, river, or lake, and reflect on the times during this past year that you didn’t do very well, times when you messed up, and then to symbolically throw all that “into the sea,” based on Scripture.
That reminds me of a friend of mine who was going through quite a bit in life, and rented a beach house to get away from everything for a while. She told me that one night she sat on the beach and had a long talk with God. Curiously, she felt Him ask her to go get a piece of paper and something to write with. So she just went with what she was feeling and did it.
There she now sat with her paper and pen. And she waited. She felt she was supposed to write down everything that bothered her, all the times she messed up, all the things she had against some people in her life, everything little thing that was worrying her. So she did. She tore that page into little strips of paper and wrote everything down. And she waited.
Then she felt Him ask her to go find rocks and twine — and, yes, she felt she was supposed to tie each of her problems to a rock.
Now she was having fun. She knew what would be next. And sure enough, yes, she felt instructed to throw them all into the ocean. She told me she had fun with this. Yelling, laughing, throwing those darn rocks as far out as she could. And then she turned happily around, feeling so much better, and headed back to the beach house, ready for, hopefully, a good night’s rest.
But then she heard His voice again.
She stopped suddenly.
“Now go get them.”
She didn’t move. She was stunned. “What do you mean, ‘Go get them’?!
So she argued. She argued with God telling Him how ridiculous and horrible and what an awful trick — and then she burst into tears. “NO! I can’t do that!” she yelled at Him, and sunk down to the sand.
Silence. Complete silence. For a moment. Enough to make her listen again. Enough to reassure her that God doesn’t play tricks, that He loves her with an undying, forever kind of Love. That there are always reasons to what He says. Good reasons.
And then she heard His voice once more: “Exactly. You can’t. They aren’t there anymore.” She said immediately Psalm 103:12 came to her mind: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
What a great time to do “housecleaning,” isn’t it? : )
Shana Tova! And now go eat a slice of apple dipped in honey … symbolic of the sweetness the Lord has in store for you in this brand-new year…