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"A Time to Begin Again" - - by Rev. Weldon Bares

I wonder if you know where the idea of using an infant to symbolize the start of a new year originated? I had to do a little research to find this out.

This practice actually started in ancient Greece, around 600 years before the birth of Christ. It was traditional at the festival of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry, to parade a baby cradled in a basket. This represented the annual rebirth of the god of fertility.

This symbol of the new year baby was so common in Greek, Egyptian and Roman days that the early Catholic Church, after some resistance, allowed its members to use it in celebrations, but only if participants recognized that the baby was not a pagan symbol, but an image of the Christ Child.

Our modern-day image of a baby in a diaper with a New Year's banner across its chest started in Germany in the fourteenth century. German immigrants then brought the image of this infant to this country.

It all points to this: a new year is a time for new beginnings.

Some people don't acknowledge this, but I sure know in my own life that I need a time of new beginnings. Maybe you do also. A time to start over. A time to ask for forgiveness and another chance. A time, with God's help, to try to do things right. What better time than the beginning of a new year to do that?

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