Happy New Year! This is the day we look forward and contemplate the year ahead, making resolutions about the changes we’d like to make and planning for the future.
Along with the custom of making New Year’s resolutions is the custom of saying that they are futile, what with the bondage of the will and everything. But we don’t have to invest them with big moral significance, nor turn them into grandiose self-improvement exercises with little chance of lasting. Changes happen over the course of the year, and we might as well direct a few of them.
For example, each year I have always made a New Year’s Resolution to keep my desk at work clean. I managed for a week or two, and then it got cluttered again. But that week or two it was clean, and that was something! Still, I always felt bad about the state of my desk. This year, though, my resolution will finally be fulfilled. Now that I’m retired, I have no desk! I don’t have to feel bad about it anymore! Not because of my willpower but because my situation is so radically changed. (Maybe Heaven will be something like that.)Maybe 2016 will be better than last year, and maybe it won’t. The pendulum might start swinging the other way, or it might swing ridiculously further. There will be lots to complain about, but things probably won’t get as bad as the plague year of 1347. We will likely still have lots of blessings in the year ahead.
This is also the day of commemoration for the circumcision and naming of Jesus, which took place seven days after His birth. So New Year’s Day is connected with the Christ child taking upon Himself the covenant of the Law on our behalf. And it is a time to consider His name, Jesus, which means “Yahweh saves.” He certainly does. That is the basis of a truly happy New Year.