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  • Shawn Thornton

A New Year, Sauerkraut, and Good Fortune

Friday - January 1st

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 1:12-18

Every good and perfect gift is from above,

coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.

James 1:17

Cabbage being cooked into sauerkraut smells awful and fills the house with its stench. Like many in the older generation of Americans, my in-laws enjoy the tradition of eating sauerkraut on New Year's Day. The tradition goes back to European customs around preparing sauerkraut and putting a coin or two in the pot with the cabbage.


When served, legends surrounding this practice suggest that those who end up with a coin in their helping of sauerkraut can count on good fortune throughout the new year. If you endure the smell of the kraut being cooked and are willing to eat your way through your serving to discover a coin, you deserve some good luck in the months to come.


You have probably guessed by now that I do not enjoy eating or smelling cooked sauerkraut. So, one's willingness to endure such hardship for the possibility of securing good fortune makes sense to me. Smelling or eating that stuff should be rewarded in some way or another.


Followers of Christ should have a problem with the idea that any superstition, wish, or legendary tradition guarantees someone good in life. James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from above - from our Heavenly Father. Legendary traditions can be a great part of holiday fun, but they should never cloud our understanding of where and from Whom all good things come. All good things come from above. All good things come from God, our perfect Father.


As we move into this new year, let us focus on walking daily with God. Let's make sure we open His Word and talk to Him in prayer. Let's be intentional about living our lives aligned with what His Word says and how His Spirit guides us. The "good" we experience may not always be good to us from the human perspective. God may use challenging circumstances to accomplish what is good in our lives. When we walk closely with the Lord, He helps us see how He is weaving the blessings and the challenges of our lives together for our good, the good of others, and His glory.


As we walk with Him in the new year ahead, we will fully understand what James meant when He said, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights" (James 1:17). Start the year off correctly by setting aside 5-10 minutes every day to spend time letting God talk to you through His Word, and you taking the time to speak to God through prayer.


When we walk daily with God, we see and embrace the good things only He can provide us in our lives.

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