Lessons from Pasadena: Happy New Year

Armodoxy for Today: Lessons from Pasadena

Today’s lesson comes not from the Church but from the City of Pasadena. Ten miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, lies the City of Pasadena. The town has the distinct honor of ushering in the new year, every January 1st with the Tournament of Roses Parade. It is estimated that about one-million tourists enter the city to watch the five-and-a-half mile parade which features floats, bands, horses with riders, celebrities and football champions. Another 50 million people watch the television broadcast.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade began in 1893. The floats are constructed of all natural herbs and plants, with over 18 million flowers used annually to construct the displays, taking 80,000 hours of human power.

But of all the remarkable statistics that I can rattle off about the parade there is one that sets it apart from all others. Pasadena has a “Never on a Sunday” rule! The parade takes place on January 1st, unless January 1st falls on a Sunday, in which case the parade is moved to the following day, on Monday January 2nd.  The rule was put in place when Pasadena started having parades in the 1890s to avoid interference with church services. It is a simple rule and an overt expression of the city’s priority.

The new year begins a few days before the Theophany. January 1st is a convenient time to access our life directions and make necessary changes to our course. It is a time to set goals and priorities. Jesus instructs us with the words, “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse.” The new year doesn’t need to be patched and if it does, not with old habits. You don’t want to carry old baggage into the new year. Begin by a simple assessment of your life and what are the priorities you would like to implement. Think of the lesson of Pasadena’s Rose Parade. Are you ready to implement policies that will prioritize God in your life?

Let us pray. A prayer for the New Year by Rev. Marcy Sheremetta

As the dawn breaks on a new year, let us give thanks for all we hold dear: our health, our family and our friends. Let us release our grudges, our anger and our pains, for these are nothing but binding chains. Let us live each day in the most loving ways, the God-conscious way. Let us serve all who are in need, regardless of race, color or creed. Let us keep God of our own understanding in our hearts and to chant God’s name each day. Let us lead the world from darkness to light, from falsehood to truth and from wrong to right. Let us remember that we are all one, embracing all, discriminating against none.

May your year be filled with peace, prosperity and love. May God’s blessings shower upon you and bestow upon each of you a bright, healthy and peaceful new year.

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