New Year's Day is one of the oldest and most widely observed holidays in the world. First celebrated about 4,000 years ago in Mesopotamia during the spring equinox, New Year's has since moved on the calendar and has adopted various traditions and rituals.

Setting personal resolutions at the beginning of the new year dates back to the early Babylonians as a means for self-evaluation and renewal. Americans may be especially looking forward to such renewal this year. Christianity Today asked Christian leaders for their 2002 resolutions:

"In 2002, I resolve to pray longer, laugh louder, worry less, and in all things to try and show the love of Christ."

Gary L. Bauer, head of American Values and former presidential candidate.

"The church will be struggling with a host of controversial issues in 2002; I resolve to be civil as I engage in debate with those who differ with me."

Tony Campolo, founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education/Tony Campolo Ministries, and sociology professor at Eastern College, St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

"My resolution for 2002 is to stop procrastinating. Last year I didn't get around to my resolutions, so this is actually for 2001."

Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind series co-author.

"This New Year I have resolved myself to doing the same thing I feel God has led me to do for the rest of my life –heralding the coming of Jesus! In all my writings, speaking ministry, etc. I will try to convince the members of the body of Christ that we should live every day as though Christ would come today. For one of these days it will be true and I don't want anyone to be unprepared or 'Left Behind.'"

Tim LaHaye, Left Behind series co-author.

"My deepest desire for the New Year is to know God by practicing His presence through trust and obedience."

Bishop George D. McKinney, founder/pastor/CEO of St. Stephen's COGIC Ministries

"Under His own hand, the God of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has presented us with a 'new day' (Isaiah: 42:9) Not just because a new year is coming, but there is a new sense of the sovereignty of God in our land. It is a small window of opportunity and we, Christian Believers, must use it wisely. In matters of preaching, teaching, reconciliation and creativity it is our most recent, finest hour to lift up the Name and cause of CHRIST."

Bishop Phillip H. Porter, Jr., chairman emeritus and ambassador, Promise Keepers

"To spend more time with my grandchildren by planning special events and quality experiences with them."

Dr. Joseph Stowell, president, Moody Bible Institute

Todd Hertz is assistant online editor for Christianity Today.

Related Elsewhere:

For more history and customs of the holiday, see this New Year's Day Web site. has a special section of holiday recipes and New Years' food traditions from around the world.

Christianity Today International's New Year's page offers more articles and perspective for the new year.