In Wat Takien temple, Bangkok a special ritual is held for New Year. Devotees lie resembling corpses in open coffins with flowers and incense sticks clasped between their hands. Monks chant prayers over the coffins, while those inside devote the merit to deceased family members. After the ceremony, they consider that they are reborn and freed from bad luck, ready to start the New Year afresh. (The Strait Times 4 January 2023) This death-mimicking reminds them that they cannot escape death and also lead a prudent life.
Take up cross: Lord Jesus did not call his disciples to perform a ritual once a year but to take up the cross and follow Him. It means embracing death. (Matthew 16:24-26) The Romans gave public crucifixion as punishment to dissidents, rebels, and revolutionaries. The criminals were compelled to carry their own cross as an instrument of execution. Disciples are called to carry their cross voluntarily, joyfully, and willingly and follow Him.
Deny Daily: It is daily an act of self-denial. It is not a once in a year ritual, but a daily act of surrender. It means to lead a Christ-centered life. It is neither self-centered nor others-centered or idea-centered, but Kingdom centered life. Denying temporal attractions, to embrace eternal rewards is the lifestyle of a disciple.
Living Sacrifice: Paul exhorts believers to be living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1) An animal is placed on an altar after it is killed or should be tied to the altar. Or else the animal could escape. Paul wants the disciples to voluntarily climb up the altar and lay there, available for His work and mission.
New Creation: Disciples are a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17) Old things are passed away. It is a spiritual transformation. It is not a ritual, in which a person imagines or blindly believes that past curses or bad luck are left behind.
Count as dead: Disciples should consider themselves dead to sin, the world, and Satan. (Romans 6:11) They are alive in Christ, for Christ.
Do I deny myself and carry my cross daily?