Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Cruellest Month

by H. G. Dr. Yakob Mar Irenaios

Devotional Thoughts for New Year

"A TOUCH OF NATURE MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD KIN " NEW YEAR GREETINGS!

To borrow partly from T S Eliot, January is "the cruellest month - mixing memory and desire........"

There is a subtle, inexpressible feeling of the "sweet" pain of loss of something, which gives way to the joy of New Year bells, so fast! The all round enthusiasm, welcoming the new (yet unknown) future, with the attendant feel of something formidably new, inundates every other feeling in all hearts and minds. Invariably, there is an air of hope- hope for better days, better opportunities and greater achievements. Truly, hope springs eternal in human breast! Surprisingly enough, without this hope and assurance of the new and better days, no one would have survived the "shock" of the frustrations and disappointments of the past. The door is slowly opening for the new year, like the deceptively simple spread of light and color, steadily increasing at every dawn.

The stars of Christmas are still shining on to the portals of the new year. It is a slowly opening splendor. As we get to our feet after worshipping the Babe of Bethlehem, the New Year arrives. It seems highly symbolic that the new year and order get inaugurated at the worship of the Incarnated Son of God.

But for the ideational and imaginative charm of the New Year, there is actually nothing new about the Day! It is just like any other day. The newness is in the minds and thoughts of those who welcome it - the wait with the "past tense, present perfect " kind of feeling.

The year past has seen black Sundays not only in Tamil Nadu, but all over the world. Last New Years' Day was drenched in the brine of the Tsunami waters receding - lots of lives lost and habitations devastated. This time there is disquiet and fear everywhere, of some impending danger from elements of terrorism. No part of this planet today is free from disturbances and fear. Yet as in the days of Noah, people go about their ways, celebrating and making merry!

By the way, what are we celebrating today, at the face of the New Year? Do we have yet something left to celebrate?

The world has greatly lost the culture of innocence and selflessness. Everyone wants to be happy, at the expense of anyone or anything. The Bible tells us that novelty of all hues come from God only. Along with Nature, we too are challenged to be new every day, shedding the evils and frustrations of yesterday. And that seems possible only and only if we are mentally prepared to hand over not only our anxieties, but the actual bridle of our lives in to the willing hands of the Babe of Bethlehem, "in whom we live, move and have our being". The moment we are mentally equipped and actually hand over the control buttons of our hearts and lives to him, then comes the feeling of relief, a great burden off our back!

Newness is about convictions and the selfless human relationships. It is the company of those you mind in your life and the tenderness with which you care for the less fortunate around you! The new year is for becoming new at heart and doing new things to bring hope in the life of someone around you to tell somebody in all earnestness, "yes, I care...."

In theological parlance it is the time to restart our endeavor to regain the lost innocence, holiness and wisdom with which God entrusted us in the beginning.

We need to build and rebuild structures of justice and innocence all around, where the human person can live in dignity, without fear and true to one's convictions. The culture of violence and exploitation and flexing of muscles by the mighty.....the show goes on, but there is still hope, so says the rays of Light emanating from the Manger!

Worst of all is what goes on in the name of religion and faith. With no qualm worth the salt all forms of injustice and violence are practiced and bred there! What will happen to the world, where the Center cannot hold and the best lack all conviction?

Bethlehem tells us "still there is hope". Let us hold on to it. The Chinese do it literally, by throwing out all old things out of their houses at the time of the Chinese New Year. It is time for us to ponder and attempt to effect changes in our lives, and do things to make change for the better in someone else's life!

"Behold, I make all things new, says the Lord".

WISH YOU ALL A BLESSED AND FRUITFUL NEW YEAR

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