Celebrating the new year is biblical, but how you celebrate might not be. The nation of Israel celebrated new year’s day every year, and they did so in the way that God prescribed.
As we all know, many of today’s New Year’s Eve parties are far from being biblical, God-honoring celebrations. We’ll address the unbiblical parties but before we do, let’s take a look at God’s prescription for how His people were to celebrate the first day of a new year.
New Year’s Day in the Bible
Our new year begins on January 1, but for the nation of Israel, the new year began in the autumn. It began in the month of Tishri, the first month of the civil calendar and the seventh month of the religious calendar.
Leviticus 23:24-25 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation…
Jewish tradition claims that this is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve (remember that is not biblically supported, it’s just tradition).
The biblical name for the day of the Jewish New Year is Yom Teruah, which literally means day of shouting or raising a noise. Yom Teruah begins the fall festival of the Feast of Trumpets and it is a High Holy Day. This day is more commonly called Rosh Hashanah, which literally means, “head of the year.” You won’t find “Rosh Hashanah” in the Bible in reference to the fall feast, because it derives from the Mishna, Rabbinic writings of oral traditions, often called the Oral Torah.
The Book of Leviticus is clear that the first day of the new year is to be a day of rest and a day of sounding the trumpet. As a High Holy Day, it would have been a time of resting in the Lord and remembering all that He had done for them.
Sadly, most of our New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations have little to do with resting in, or remembering, Jesus. They center around friends, fun, food, and partying. From New Year’s Eve “bashes” of food and drink, to New Year’s Day unending football parties of more food and drink, most people aren’t thinking about Jesus at all.
Biblical or Unbiblical?
So while most of our New Year’s festivities are not biblically based, that does not necessarily mean they are unbiblical. The Jews were told to celebrate special events, and we have liberty in Christ to do the same. However, the bottom line is that we should always attempt to have parties and celebrations that are fun and include God-honoring activities only. In other words, our gatherings should be such that they do not promote or generate sinful thoughts, words, or actions. It really all comes down to how we celebrate the New Year and how we behave at the parties.
That raises the question, is it okay to drink alcohol on New Year’s Eve? The answer to that question must be personally discerned. The Bible does not say that drinking alcohol is a sin. The Bible does say that drunkenness is a sin. (see a more in-depth discussion on this: Is It a Sin to Drink Alcohol?)
While it might be okay to have one drink, it is never okay to allow alcohol to control your thinking and behavior (and for some people, even one drink can do that). Let me say it again, any level of drunkenness is a sin. (Read: Is It a Sin to Drink Alcohol? and What Does the Bible Say About Alcohol?) It is well known that alcohol, even in small amounts, can inhibit judgment and reasoning and can produce behavior that is not God-honoring. Therefore, great caution must be exercised, if one chooses to have even one alcoholic beverage. For some, it might be possible to have a drink and not become drunk, just like it is possible to fill your plate from the buffet table and not be a glutton (Just like drunkenness, gluttony is also a sin. For more on this, read: What are the Seven Deadly Sins?).
Whether or not to drink at a holiday party is a personal decision that should be discerned before one attends the party.
Start the New Year Off Right
We implore you that as you celebrate the close of one year and the beginning of another, you do so with your mind focused on the One who has brought you through the past year and who opens to you another year of life. Keep Him in the forefront of your thoughts and it will be much easier to participate in and enjoy the celebrations in a God-honoring way.
With the Holy Spirit as your Guide, be responsible as you celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It is a well-documented fact that the winter holidays have a higher number of alcohol-related deaths and injuries than at other time of the year. Thanksgiving has the highest number of deaths and New Year’s Eve is second.
Plan Your Celebration Checklist
If you are attending a New Year’s Eve party that offers alcohol:
- Determine beforehand what you will drink.
- Decide to limit how much you drink if you choose to drink alcohol. Remain sober and in control of your mind, words, and actions.
- If you choose to drink, make sure you are traveling with a designated driver who will not drink. Or better yet, offer to be that driver and avoid any chance of alcohol-induced sin.
- Be prepared to call for a cab or Uber if needed for yourself or others.
- Don’t let others drive drunk and endanger their lives or that of others. Be bold and take the keys from anyone who should not drive.
If you are hosting a party that offers alcohol, you have a responsibility for the safety of those you invite—both while they are in your home and for the condition in which they leave.
- Consider offering non-alcoholic beverages.
- If you do offer alcoholic beverages, take your responsibility seriously and monitor and limit all consumption.
- Be ready to stop anyone who is even slightly impaired from driving under the influence.
While drinking alcohol is not a sin, drunkenness is. And, the behavior of someone who is drunk is often sinful. Sadly, we know in some cases, it can be deadly. As Christians, we can’t “hide our heads in the sand” and pretend excessive alcohol consumption is not a problem. We must be willing to be a friend to sinners and stop them from potentially hurting themselves or another.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink,
or whatsoever ye do,
do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
More inspiration for the New Year:
What are “The 70 New Year’s Resolutions?”
A New Year’s Meditation by Matthew Henry (1662-1714)
A New Year, A New Hope, It’s My Year – Guaranteed to Make You Smile! (video)
How Do I Change My Life? Two New Year’s Resolutions that will work!
Is a New Year’s Eve party biblical? What about the alcohol?
At the Gate of the Year: A Message to a Troubled Nation
I Resolve To….(video)
A New Year, A New Start. . .Another Resolution?
A New Year, A New Beginning
Good Reminders for the New Year
Ways to Glorify God - Bookmark
Not feeling in a celebratory mood? Remember, you are not alone. Read this article & watch the short video.
Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists
We continue to reach people worldwide with the truths of God's Word and the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your generosity is both a blessing and encouragement to us. Our mission is to glorify God by equipping, encouraging, and empowering YOU to understand the Bible and grow in faith. If our online resources have blessed you, we hope you will support Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Our ministry outreach has grown significantly and. . .
Please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus with a donation of $5, $10, $20, or more. A donation of any amount is needed and greatly appreciated.
CLICK TO DONATE
to Reasons for Hope*Jesus(a 501c3 Ministry)
Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.
***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***
Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus. When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).
The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2020
- The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
- The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
- Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
- What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings?
- How are the Shepherd’s Rod and Staff Different?
- What Does It Mean to TASTE & SEE That God Is Good? (Psalm 34)
- What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
- Is Leonard Cohen’s “HALLELUJAH” a Christian Song?
- How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM? Psalm 22
- Is my TATTOO a sin?
More Popular Got Questions & Articles
Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
Where did OT Saints go at death? ABRAHAM'S BOSOM?
If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Re-Baptized?
What Does it Mean to Be A CHILD OF GOD?
Which OT Book Did JESUS QUOTE Most Often?
How Did the Wise Men Know This Was the Messiah and KNOW TO FOLLOW HIS STAR?
What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
How long did JOB SUFFER?
Three Heavens? Where is the THIRD HEAVEN?
What are the “I Will ” STATEMENTS of Satan, God, and Jesus?
SIN, INIQUITY, TRANSGRESSION? How are they different?
Should we call HIM JESUS? Or Yahweh? Or Yeshua?
Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER?
JESUS WEPT. Why?
Is There a Remez (HIDDEN MESSAGE ) in Revelation 7? Why is Dan Missing?
Is It a Sin to Drink ALCOHOL?
Is SUICIDE an Unforgivable Sin?
Something ALL Christians must know: IVDARR
TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
- Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace
- Christian Version of Leonard Cohen's HALLELUJAH
- RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
- WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
- PAUL HARVEY: THE BIRDCAGE
- PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: A SOLDIER'S PLEDGE
- JOHN WAYNE ~ WHY I LOVE AMERICA
- THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share
- TASTE AND SEE that the Lord is Good ~ Psalm 34
- Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas