There was once a young man in a particular town known for his great love for food. In fact, his unbridled attachment to anything edible became a source concern for his immediate family and relations. He is always present at any ceremony or party often uninvited, and his lusting for food brought a bad name to him and shame to his relations. In fact, he became synonymous with celebrations and food in that town and beyond.
After some time, one of his uncles decided to take him to the city to learn a trade. His family and the entire town celebrated the news of his planned mission to the city. People believed that changes could come from his sojourn. When he finally left the city, his relations were relieved; though a majority of the townspeople missed his usual drama with food at ceremonies which were often entertaining.
Two years later, Popolo as the people address him, came back and he was looking transformed from the observation of individuals. His dressing became dapper, and he spoke differently; he appeared mature and sober. During ceremonies, he was no longer scrambling for food like he did in the past.
Three months after his return, Popolo started changing again to his pre-city life. In fact, by the fourth month of his return, he was fighting over food at several ceremonies and his dressing returned to the Popolo of the past. With this, it became a common saying in the town that you can take Popolo to the city, but you cannot take him away from food.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Our Lord advises us in the Gospel of Matthew (9:17) not to put new wine into an old wine otherwise, the skin will burst, and the wine will waste. The New Year can only be new to the extent we make it new by what we bring into it. Like Popolo, most of us still go back to the former ways after making so many breath-taking declarations about the new year.
The most important element in the New Year is YOU. Often, most of us focus on the New Year as if it is a magical structure we need to run into and pick all the good things of life. There is no physical structure called “2017” for instance. It is a conventional number, but it can become more meaningful to you depending on your spiritual and mental attitude and readiness of the YOU in YOU.
The Sun will be the same just as the moon. It will be same weather, the same house we live, the same people around us. Your money will not automatically increase because it is a New Year. Your house will not become a skyscraper because it is a New Year. The only new reality is our disposition and the fruits we bear.
Often some of us pray with the motive of prodding God to change things for us. God does make a difference or turn things around for us, but we do not get the effect because some of us refuse to change. The saint of the poor, Mother Theresa, once said that prayer ought to change us (not God) so that we can make a difference.
Often our New Year Resolutions do not bear fruits because we deal with the symptoms and not the sicknesses. We deal with the stems and not the roots. The change we expect cannot be effective unless we address the causes, not the effects. We cannot solve our problems in the New Year with the solutions that failed us in the past years. Whoever removes the cobwebs and spears the spider will come back to remove more cobwebs.
The greatest reality in this New Year is You! You can make a difference by redefining your priorities. The first reasonable thing to do is to put God first in all things. Putting God first in all things means giving him his position because he is the First and the Last; the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 22:13). Putting God first in all things means leaving everything in His hands. Those who leave everything in God’s hands will eventually see God’s hands in everything. Your New Year resolution can only succeed if God is involved.
You need to discover whom you are this New Year. Often people waste their entire lifetime studying biographies of other people without giving proper attention to whom they are. An unexamined life is not worth living this New Year. How much of you do you know? God is right when he says that my people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Lack of self-knowledge can only lead us to a recycle of past mistakes.
We might embark on forty days fasting and prayers for the New Year, but if we do not make an effort to change, our lives we will remain the same. How would you expect a year of abundance when you are insensitive to the needs of people around you? How would you expect countless blessings when you cannot allow others to experience little blessings. How would you expect a year of divine visitation when you are not ready and willing to forgive and let go?
As we enter into a new year, there will be a need for many of us to be conscious and careful about the utterances and declarations we make. Often, we try to impose obligations on God because it is a New Year as if He owes us. We expect God to decorate our world with golden opportunities while we remain disobedient to Him. Is it fair?
- God did not exclude afflictions, but He promised deliverance from all of them (Psalm 34:19).
- God did not eliminate sicknesses and wounds, but He promised healing and restoration (Jer.30:19; Ex.15:26).
- God did not make enemies disappear, but He promised to contend against those who contend against us (Psalm 35:1).
- God did not exclude us from troubles, but he promised to answer us in the day of trouble (Psalm 20:1).
- People may rise against you, but God will defend you (Psalm 91:7).
- People may forget you, but God will take care of you (Psalm 27:10).
The New Year should challenge you to do things new things to have NEW YIELD. There are many new things we need to do just as there are many old things we should stop doing.
- You complain that you don’t have time to do some meaningful things, but you spend hours every day on Facebook, Whatsapp, IMO, Instagram and other social networking sites.
- You find it boring to spend five minutes in prayer, but you could spend hours on the phone talking frivolously.
- You spend a lot of money shopping and buying things you do not need, but you give reasons why you cannot do charity.
- “ I will watch my weight this year.” Remember that you said the same thing last year, and you may still say it in years to come. You don’t need to register in a gym because it will be money wasted. Take a long walk and watch your diet.
- You spend hours with friends at parties but five minutes with Lord in the Blessed Sacrament seems like a punishment.
- You have three phones, but you don’t have a functional bible nor rosary.
- You want the best for yourself, but you don’t care about other people; that is selfishness.
This New Year will become what you make it; there is no magic nor shortcut to the New Year. If you bring God into your life and your plans for the New Year, He will take you beyond your expectations. Remember you can make New Yield if you Yield to God with a New You in the New Year. Happy New Year! A year of divine visitation (Luke 1:68).