Being in London has also made it more obvious just how arbitrary the timing of "New Year" is. There are many calendars out there, including some with perhaps less arbitrary definitions of the start of the year, such as the Persian spring equinox. (Then again, the new year here does seem to vaguely coincide with when I start to notice that the days really are getting longer again!) But even ignoring other calendars, and thinking about so many people all celebrating on 1 January, I notice that either we decide the year starts at a set time in an arbitrary place (Greenwich?), or we end up we me in 2006 talking to someone in 2007, as I mentioned yesterday.
The only thing special about New Year's Day is that it is one year after the previous New Year's Day. Time and life keep going on, however our minds choose to file things. I suspect that most of us take a while to get used to the new "file" - I found myself thinking of things from August and September as "2005", because I'd somehow realised that they were now last year, without ticking my mental clock over to 2007. Some of us might enjoy noticing the first
Apart from a bit of fun, I don't think the new year by itself brings anything other than a chance to think of things on a yearly scale. The thoughts this year brings to my mind are how little I managed to do in 2006, and have left to do now; several friends planning to get married this year; a fourth wedding anniversary; four-yearly events like the cricket World Cup; and not knowing what we'll be up to at the end of the year. New things, and old things continued, but in all of them trusting the God who makes all things new. There isn't anything special about New Year following Christmas, but new life does follow from receiving God's ultimate Christmas gift.