Why do so many people around the country jump in freezing water in freezing temperatures on New Years Day?

I honestly don't know why. I'm wondering. Do we do it to remind ourselves we're alive? (cf. The Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris." "You bleed just to know you're alive...") Is there a longing inside us to break out of some mundane existence and the water is our needed jolt? Am I reading too much into it?

We joined our neighboors in our annual Polar Bear Swim yesterday. On this morning it was 23 degrees in Richmond, VA. Needless to say, our family watched rather than swam, but had a great time being a part of the festivities. But it made me question why hundreds of people subject themselves to these extreme elements at the beginning of each New Year.

I'm hoping and praying that 2009 is a year when God's grace shocks my system much like a polar bear plung. In other words, that I would be just as conscious of Him this year as the swimmers yesterday were conscious of the frigid water that immersed them.

The water could not be denied.