In truth, we have the speech for the same reason we sleep: life is terrible if it just keeps going uninterrupted. People need a sense of closure and renewal; they need the idea you can close one year and begin another. So much of our culture is based on this idea of locking in our past, saving it, and then starting the future without constantly having to carry the baggage. The school year, the weekend, major holidays, birthdays, and television seasons are all designed to give people a sense of starting over, and an entry point for the new members.
So check out the State of the Union tonight. If you've never been into politics, it'll give you something to start with. If you're an old pro, you'll be excited to embrace the president or challenge him. Regardless, it's a night of infinite potential (which will certainly be screwed up by the end of the day tomorrow) so do not miss it!
Stay warm, unless you don't like that kind of thing.