“Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." 1 Timothy 6:6-7
Yesterday I watched a cooking demonstration featuring dishes for a New Year’s Day dinner. Two of the dishes contained black-eyed peas or cabbage.
As the demonstrator prepared the black-eyed peas salad, she authoritatively stated that eating black-eyed peas would bring good luck in the coming year. For years I observed huge displays in grocery stores promoting this often overlooked food. According to a legend springing from the Civil War, it was said that the residents of Vicksburg, Miss. ran out of food while under attack. All that was left was the black-eyed pea which saved the people from starvation, thus bringing good luck.
As for the cabbage, tradition states that if you eat cabbage on New Year’s Day, you are promised wealth and prosperity for the upcoming year.
In early days, cabbage was supposed to represent folded money. Of course there were certain foods you didn’t eat on New Year’s, such as poultry, because the bird scratched backwards which brought about the saying “scratching out a living." It can also mean that a person is looking
backward or living in the past.
While these things are pure folklore, people are comfortable with observing traditions. Superstition was overcome and traditions emerged in their place. Of course, who doesn’t wish for wealth and good luck? All of us desire to be happy, comfortable, and prosperous in the new year.
Furthermore, all of us have a different definition of what will fulfill those desires.
Can a person be prosperous without being wealthy? In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus said “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." Aren’t the things we do and the people we are being more valuable than the things we acquire? Are we content with the things we already have? Is it who we are that defines our prosperity and not what we own? In Proverbs 21:21 (NIV) it says, “Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.”
In this new year, it is my prayer to focus more on God instead of all of the usual New Year’s resolutions which are rarely kept. Joshua 1:7-9 (NIV) sums it up so well: “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and
successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at: email@example.com