WHAT’S so special about New Year that people seem so eager to cuddle up into its open arms? Is it the fascination for the unknown, the yearning for a time like no other or the hope of new vistas and promises? Why is the birth of a new year so special that people write up resolutions or turn religious or philosophic?
For some, New Year seems dreadful. They are terrified and generally have a gloomy outlook for the future. While some others think New Year is a time when things are supposed to bring in good or bad things in turns as if someone spun a giant roulette wheel loaded with both good and bad offerings.
One of the greatest English poets of the 20th century, T S Eliot in his last major poem ‘Little Gidding’ that appears in his masterpiece ‘Four Quartets’, came up with these brilliant lines:
‘For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.’
In a subtle way, he nuanced the intricacies of life and the utter futility of trying to live a new year with the vocabulary acquired over the past in those famous lines.
The poet, as a critic wrote, was aware of what he called ‘the void’ in all human affairs – ‘the disorder, meaninglessness, and futility which he found in his own experience; it was inexplicable intellectually . . . and could only be understood or endured by means of a larger faith.’
The writer of Ecclesiastes would have agreed with Eliot.
In Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, Solomon, the prince who rolled in riches only to realize that wealth doesn’t quite satisfy the cravings of the inner being, wrote:
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
If you think the promise verse uttered by a pastor or an evangelist at the stroke of midnight or that miracle worker in his ‘rain of blessings’ meeting will automatically work its way into your life and turn it around, you are far off the mark. If you are still hoping for a promise through a mediator, you haven’t yet yielded yourself to God fully. The Bible is full of promises. That’s why in this issue we are offering 366 promises for the New Year. You need to claim what are yours!
True to their character, people who call themselves as ‘prophets’ and ‘apostles’ will dish out ‘prophecies’ concerning tsunamis and earthquakes this year also. But then, there’s nothing new in what they say and what is touted as ‘prophecies’ are merely repetitions of the utterances of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you read Matthew 24 closely, you’ll realize what I mean.
There will be famines, earthquakes, landslides, turbulence in the seas and turmoil among people all over the world. Jesus has already foretold all that. ‘Such things must happen, but the end is still to come,’ He said in verse 6.
This New Year, the question that we need to ask ourselves is not ‘How will 2012 turn out to be?’ Rather, it should be ‘Where do I see myself in 2012?’
I’d like to see myself at His feet this New Year, learning from His Word and staying close enough to Him to be able to listen to His heartbeat and hear the still, small voice of God. That’s where you learn His plans for you, your family and your vocation. Stay there. It’s a great place to be.
G K Chesterton once said: “The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.” May the Lord Himself help us to be transformed thus.
Robin Sam is the founding editor of The Christian Messenger newspaper. A journalist with over 16 years of experience, he has worked with The Indian Express, Sify.com and Yahoo! besides several other publications. He quit his job in 2008 to get into full-time media ministry. You can contact him at editor [at] christianmessenger [dot] in