We all use the phrase Happy New Year when greeting someone at the beginning of each new calendar year. But what do we really mean and what exactly does the phrase Happy New Year itself really mean?
Let’s break it down literally.
Happy per the dictionary has two distinct meanings:
Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment
Synonyms: cheerful, joyful, carefree, delighted, contented, satisfied, carefree
Fortunate and convenient
Synonyms: lucky, favorable, advantageous, opportune, timely,
New per the dictionary follows the same pattern:
Not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.
Already existing but seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now for the first time.
Synonyms: None – New is simply “new”
Year per the dictionary also lists two meanings
The time taken by a planet to make one revolution around the sun.
The period of 365 days (or 366 days in leap years) starting from the first of January,
used for reckoning time in ordinary affairs.
I suspect that this point in time many of you are asking the question: who cares what it means? Precisely a very normal reaction but very un-Spock like conclusion.
Let’s examine the three definitions more closely.
When we wish someone “Happy New Year”, what we are really saying is:
“I wish for you a blissful and newfound contentment filled with favorable opportunity during the next 365 days of your life.” Truly “Happy New Year” is much easier but without expressing its true meaning it is just shallow words.
What is the real meaning behind your words?
How many times when we utter those words do we really feel the sentiment behind them? On the opposite end of the spectrum, how many times do we twist words around to make them say something completely foreign to their actual meaning?
Just leaving out one little word or connotation can completely change the meaning of a sentence, a dialogue, or political statement. In our world today, we live by a double standard. Words and deeds appear to have a different meaning depending on the color of your skin, your affluence, or your political persuasion. Why is that truth so prevalent in our society today? Not only is it prevalent, sadly it is accepted as the norm.
Why can one man stand in front of an audience using profanity or intolerance for another’s viewpoint, but turn around the next day and profess his Christianity and everyone pats him on the back for standing up for his faith; yet another man can clumsily profess his faith, use slang and sarcasm in his presentation of others and he is called a liar and his faith is deemed a mockery.
In the past, we have always respected the idiom that there are two sides to every story when sides feel justified in their actions, yet now we rarely look at both opinions. We are quick to condemn one and praise the other.
What ever happened to equal justice under the law?
Why can one man kill another and walk away because of a legal technicality, but another can blatantly live above the law without fear of recrimination? Why is a poor man punished for the same deed committed by the rich man, yet the rich man walks away without ever paying for his crime?
Is a celebrity’s crime any less than that of an unknown? Why when the evidence seems overwhelming that a crime has been committed is a jury unable to reach a decision because the accused is a well-known celebrity touted for being “a family man”?
I could go on and on discussing the unfair jargon spewed by those who would tear down our country and change our way of life. Ultimately, it makes no difference if people choose to believe what they hear instead of discovering the truth for themselves.
Social media has done more harm in this degree than any other form of communication.
People post things on Facebook that may or may not be true but because it fuels their own thinking about an issue. They don’t stop to research whether it is truth. When this happens, an untruth is circulated to millions and often causes irrevocable damage.
We are so very blessed in America. We can wish each other Merry Christmas or Happy New Year without fear of reprisal. We are free to believe what we choose and live our lives as we choose. We can vote for the candidate we wish; we can seek a vocation of our choice.
We all must admit the world is changing; the climate is changing. Technology is so advanced that the unbelievable is real and yet the unthinkable is sadly happening right under our noses.
The advance of systems like Roku where one can avail themselves of science, technology, and nature as well as endless entertainment, has been a redeeming value for me.
As I watch films about our solar systems, the vast mountains, deserts, wonders of nature and millions of animals on our earth, I am in awe of the countless ways God has chosen to reveal his existence. There is no way anyone will ever convince me that all the beauty and grandeur of nature was put into place by a chance meeting of molecules. This universe was planned and designed by one of omnipotence and power beyond anything we could ever imagine.
To doubt the existence of God, would be to doubt the very breath we take each day. Even down to the tiniest insect on the planet, they each choose a mate to continue their species. When thousands of turtle eggs hatch on a sandy beach only one turtle in a thousand lives to their life expectancy of 80 years. Yet they still go on; they still survive. The only reason some animals are becoming extinct is because man has found it necessary to invade their habitat.
We often express in futility the meaning of our existence or the evil that sometimes takes such precedence over good. Yet there is one constant that will never change.
Who can doubt the existence of a superior being when even the hairs on our heads are numbered? He knows the beginning from the end and he knows how long we will continue.
I do believe the Bible to be God’s word and that Jesus Christ is the one true way to God and eternal life. Like so many of you, I have been truly blessed to have been shown the way, but so many have not had this opportunity.
The Bible teaches one thing very clearly: God gives us a free will to choose, but he also holds us greatly accountable when we know to do right, and we choose to do wrong.
Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
2 Peter 2:21
It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and turned away from the holy commandment passed on to them.
There are many who have never heard. I unequivocally believe that the small band of pygmies living in the deepest part of Africa who have never heard the name of Jesus will not punished because they never knew. If they truly believed in a supreme being, I trust my God will find a special place for them and it will not be eternal damnation.
I also believe a loving God who could design the heavens and earth and all its inhabitants to coexist with one another and who cultivated nature from man down to the lowly insect, can also be a God of righteous anger. Yahweh, the God of Israel, is the one true God and he has chastised his people when they have disobeyed him. Do you not think he in turn could chastise our nation for its disobedience?
America is a land of freedom and prosperity, but it is because we have always honored the one true God and followed his commandments. We have used our resources to reach the world for Jesus Christ. We have given to other nations of our wealth in hopes of bringing them a better life.
We are right now living in a time when we may be called upon to decide for God.
I am proud to be an American and I thank God every day for that precious gift. We all have choices to make in our lives every moment. We can choose to stand up or we can choose to walk away.
Choices are never easy, but God knows our heart and God knows who belongs to him.
Some will say all of this is only semantics – only words. Words make a difference; words can change the world.
Choose yours carefully.