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  • Shawn Thornton

A New Year of Grace and Peace

Saturday - January 1st

Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 1:1-3

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Ephesians 1:2


If your family eats sauerkraut and pork on New Year's Day, you more than likely descended from a line of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors. As folks from Germany settled into Pennsylvania during the colonial days in America, they brought with them some great foods (think shoo-fly pie, pretzels, and homemade noodles). They also introduced some rich traditions around the holidays. One of those traditions is eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.


A recent Reader's Digest article explains why pork became a primary food on the first day of the New Year:


Pork isn't eaten on New Year's Day only because it's delicious—it is also thought to be good luck. The first reason for this goes back to the pig itself: In order to find food, a pig roots going forward, according to Linda Pelaccio, a culinary historian and host of "A Taste of the Past" podcast.


In addition, Pelaccio says that pork is considered good luck because it is so rich in fat, and the fat signifies prosperity. Some people eat pork on the first day of the year in the hopes it will bring a lucky and prosperous year.


The Reader's Digest article goes on to explain why sauerkraut became a core part of the New Year's meal:


Even though sauerkraut is served in strands, the cabbage it originated from was round, which, as Pelaccio mentioned, is a shape thought to bring good luck. It's also green—a color associated with financial prosperity. "Symbolically, as many shreds of cabbage from the kraut is the amount of wealth you'll have in the new year," Drew Anderson, co-founder of Cleveland Kraut, tells Reader's Digest.


My wife, Lesli, grew up with the smell of pork and sauerkraut permeating her home on New Year's Day. While Lesli never acquired a taste for sauerkraut, her parents were raised in Pennsylvania and enjoyed the smell and taste of the cabbage-based dish. To this day, if it is at all possible, my in-laws enjoy a good meal with sauerkraut on New Year's Day. As you read this today, I am probably smelling it in my home since my in-laws are visiting with us right now. I am not a fan of the taste or smell of it either! Glad they can enjoy it!


The History Channel's website describes the various foods different cultures traditionally eat on New Year's Day to bring good luck in the new year. While the Bible never suggests good luck for any of us - since God sovereignly oversees our lives, the Scriptures do indicate we can be blessed with God's grace and peace in our lives. Next weekend, January 8th and 9th, we will launch a new sermon series at Calvary studying the New Testament Book of Ephesians. In the opening verses of this first-century letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in the Roman city of Ephesus, Paul prays they will know God's “grace and peace” (Ephesians 1:2).


As we begin the new year, let's seek out the grace and peace of God rather than good luck. God wants us as His children to experience His goodness we do not deserve (grace). He also wants us to be satisfied and content in life - no matter our circumstances (peace). So, whether or not you enjoy pork and sauerkraut today, as you walk with Jesus, you can enjoy God's grace and peace in 2022!


Let's pray for our family and friends that they too may experience God's grace and peace in 2022!

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