Segunda, 29 de Maio de 2017
   
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Additional Components of a Happy New Year

According to the common view, a happy year is a year free of problems. I do not completely disagree with this conception let alone oppose the desire of experiencing such a year. Indeed, this was the kind of happiness Paul wished their readers when writing “grace and peace”.

However, I believe the biblical concept of happiness goes beyond that notion. As far as my memory can reach, I recall at least three other factors linked to the concept of blessed life. And I believe we have to purchase them if we are to have a “happy new year”, so that the happiness longed for in 2016 is more than seizing serene days.

First of all, the concept of happiness is linked to obedience. The Bible says: “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him”(Psalm 128.1). The world proposes exactly the opposite. In the school of existentialism, young people (mainly) are led to believe that by walking in the way of God they will loose their chances of “enjoying” life and be unhappy.  So they go dashing around with the voracious desire of plundering the world. In the end, these “looters” find out in distress that they were plundered instead – the world seized not only what they had, but also what they could have (which may be even harder), leaving them with nothing.

The fact is the world does not keep its promises. In the end it turns a deaf ear and its regardless back, abandoning those who loved him and seeking some new “friends” to plunder. In this way, the one who seeks happiness in disobedience to God is similar to the man who drinks salty water to quench his thirst. So if you want to be happy in 2016, be obedient!

Secondly, the concept of happiness is linked to good friendship. Famous Psalm 1 leaves no doubt. The ancient poem says: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers” (Psalm 1.1). The happy man is happy, among other things, because he chooses well his companionship. His friends do not encourage him to walk the crooked way, they do not fill up his head with wrong suggestions, nor his ears with dirty words, nor his glass with rum. The blessed man’s close friend is part of a flock, not of a gang. The truth is “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Eph. 2.2) has no place in the lives of a happy man’s friends.

Thirdly and last, the concept of happiness is linked to forgiveness, more precisely God’s forgiveness. Look at Psalm 32.1: “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”. That’s why no unbeliever is able to be happy. Even after succeeding emotionally, professionally, financially, academically and in the family, all unbelievers feel a chill in their hearts that nothing can relent. They wonder why this inner ice does not melt even in the hottest day. They also try to live new adventures and have unique experiences to raise the temperature. Sometimes they seek help in a therapist or in the several religious and philosophical strands that exist. In the end, they give up and surrender to perennial cold unaware that what they need is the purifying flame of God’s forgiveness, granted to all who receive salvation by Jesus Christ through faith. The house of human happiness is built upon the foundation of divine forgiveness. Without such foundation, it quickly collapses leaving only desolation and misery.

Do you want to have a Happy New Year? May the Lord grant it to each one. However, may he do so in the broader meaning which happiness is to be understood. May he grant a new year full of “grace and peace” to all of us. And also full of humble obedience, holy friendships and complete forgiveness.

Pr. Marcos Granconato

Strength and faith

Soli Deo Gloria

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