Music & the Spoken Word: New year traditions and resolutions

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Jan. 2, 2022.

New Year’s Day might very well be just another day — no different from the 364 that follow — if it wasn’t for our traditions. We gather with family and friends. We eat special foods together. We celebrate and reflect. We thank God for the blessings of the past year and the opportunities in the year ahead. No, there’s nothing inherently special about Jan. 1. But in these and many other ways, we make New Year’s Day meaningful with our traditions of gathering, of love, of remembering, of gratitude to God — of looking back and looking forward. Let’s hear how some people around the world celebrate the New Year.

Person No. 1: “In Mexico, we eat 12 grapes as we count down the last seconds of the old year — one for each strike of the clock at midnight. It’s harder than it sounds! But it’s a really fun tradition that we look forward to all year.”

Person No. 2: “In Denmark, we all gather as a family at 6 p.m. to listen to the queen speak to the nation. She always looks back at the year past and then shares a message filled with hope and encouragement for the new year. We never miss the queen’s New Year speech.”

Person No. 3: “We gather as a family and play a little game: everyone names three things they learned last year and three things they’re grateful for from the past year. We laugh and remember and support one another, and then we have a family prayer for the year ahead.”


St. Benedict, a patron saint of Europe, is said to have expressed this simple but encouraging thought: “Every day we begin again.” And if that’s true of a new day, it’s certainly true of a new year. We all yearn for the chance to start over and begin anew. It’s a sentiment that rings true in the heart as we ring in the new year.

This is probably why we make new year’s resolutions — things we want to accomplish, learn or improve about ourselves. After all, God created us to improve and progress. But making a resolution is one thing; keeping it can be much harder. How can we keep from becoming discouraged when things don’t go as we planned or hoped? Here are some ideas:

Person No. 4: “I’ve learned to make only one or two clear, firm resolutions at the beginning of a new year. Then I share my resolution with someone, like a close friend or family member. Sometimes I share it with God. But it always helps to have someone who knows my goal and will encourage me.”

Person No. 5: “My resolutions are a little different from most: every year as Jan. 1st gets closer, I find a verse of scripture that inspires me — maybe one that describes a quality I want to work on. I carry that scripture with me all year long so it can guide my thoughts and the choices I make.”

Person No. 6: “What’s helped me is knowing I don’t have to be perfect or do everything tomorrow — or even in one year. I just keep working at being better and doing better, and the new year helps me reset my priorities. It’s a time for me to refocus on spiritual things and family things — the things that really matter.”


Whatever new beginnings you are looking forward to, we hope your new year is filled happiness, peace and God’s richest blessings. 

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.comBYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), thetabernaclechoir.orgYouTube and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MST on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

See the Church News’ archive of ’Spoken Word’ messages