I doubt that I am the first one to wish you a “Happy New Year” because I have been hearing that for almost a month now and I bet you have, too! It comes right after “Merry Christmas” and then those wishing us good cheer tack on the words, “And have a Happy New Year, too!”
Have you ever thought about what makes a new year happy? How do we rate the “happiness” of another year? By the sadness of the previous years? By temporal gain? By the fact that we were engaged during the Christmas season? Or that the boss tells us we’re going to be promoted and the raise will show up in our first check in 2017?
I suppose there are numerous ways for us to have a happy new year. But, like I have already said, “What determines whether we have had a Happy New Year or not?” Since we are not able to see into the future, we must assume, at the onset of this new year, that it is going to be better than the last year. (That person would see the glass half-full and would be an optimist.)
Those who don’t think the new year is going to be any better than the last year are seeing the glass half empty and are known as pessimists. But what if we don’t see the glass half full or half empty? Then what? Well, maybe you could call us a realist. A realist is someone who can look at things as they are and deals with it in a practical manner. In other words, “If the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Or, if the world tries to mold you into it’s mold, don’t allow that to happen but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
(Romans 10:1-2) Paul is clear in these verses to not allow outward circumstances to affect inward feelings. I don’t think there is anyone, who upon rising in the morning says, “I think I’ll go out and have a bad day.” No! Outward circumstances and happenings around us help to determine what kind of a day we are having. So how do we change outward circumstances?
Maybe stay away from places we know we shouldn’t be a part of (ie: night clubs, rowdy parties, X-rated movies) or maybe we need to stay away from things (ie: drugs, cigarettes, booze, wrong crowd, etc.) or even people, someone who is trying to bring us down or lives their life according to the world while you are trying to live for the Lord.
I believe God has given all of us human emotions. And one of those emotions is the ability to know right from wrong. When we live our lives for ourselves, then we usually get into trouble. But when we put Christ first in our lives, He changes us (from the inside) and we become more like Him and then we can lie by faith and know beyond a shadow of doubt that God is very much alive and seated on His throne.
Just like 2016, the new year is a choice that we make every day. When we get up, we can start the day by saying, “Good morning, Lord!” rather than saying “Good Lord, is it morning already?” See the difference?
Or instead of saying, “I have to work on Monday,” say this, “I get to work on Monday! PTL!”
Everyone sets goals after this weekend. So why not try setting a goal to be in church every Sunday, to use your gifting to it’s fullest advantage and to choose to be happy from this day going forward?
Good luck to everyone. May God bless you and your family. May He keep you safe and find you doing His work in you lives. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.