Today is the first day of the Jewish New Year which is called Rosh HaShanah (The Head/First of the Year). It is a part of a two day celebration that includes prayer and reflection as they usher in the new year. The point of this two day celebration of New Year is multi-faceted.
1. It is to remind everyone that God is sovereign and He is the creator of everything. The morning prayers and the liturgy throughout the day reinforce this idea of hamelech (המלך ) "the sovereign".
2. God is the judge. These two days are set aside with the idea that on this day God will judge the nations and the individuals. The point here is that we live in God's world which operates by God's rules. This is when the focus is on the hope that one day the whole world will acknowledge God's Kingdom.
3. The celebration of life. One Rabbi of the Masoroti Movement says, " 'Inscribe us in the book of life' is a constantly recurring motif of the Rosh Hashana liturgy. Life is valued above death. We celebrate being alive and express our appreciation of the gift of life and hope to be worthy of it."
I love the progression of first recognizing where life comes from, who is in control, and finally our response of thankfulness for life. Our markets will rise and fall, people will know will struggle through difficult issues, we will lose friends and loved ones, and we will not always feel like celebrating the gift of life. But the truth is, the goods and bads and the highs and lows are all a part of this thing and we don't really have the "right" or the need to go through life without every hurting or struggling. What we do want to do is stop periodically to recognize where we stand with God and begin a fresh new chapter.