“New Year, New Happiness” – Is it Valid for the Whole Year?

 

“New Year, New Happiness” – this is how we greet, but has anyone thought how can this coming year be new and what will be new in it?

“New Year, New Happiness” – this is how we greet, but has anyone thought how can this coming year be new and what will be new in it? How will today, for instance, be different than yesterday or the first day of the passing year? And how can we know that it is not about the same sequence of months and seasons of the last year?

“New Year, New Happiness” – this is how we greet, but has anyone thought how can this coming year be new and what will be new in it? How will today, for instance, be different than yesterday or the first day of the passing year? And how can we know that it is not about the same sequence of months and seasons of the last year? The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

Are our greetings useless? It is impossible that a custom so general and old be useless. There must be something truly new, in which, despite the oldness that surrounds us, our soul believes and awaits, being ready to salute any novelty it might bring.

What is the meaning of this?

The Lord says that there is a new heaven and a new earth (Resurrection 21:1). This is why, we, the faithful people according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). Here is the first true novelty!

It will be discovered in grace only after the end of the world, when everything will be purified through fire – but the world is preparing and working for it since its early days of life (of course, in an unseen manner for the humanly sight, but visible to the vision of faith). The renewal powers placed in the orbit of the creation’s transience are so working that, the Apostle, thinking about them shouted old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17) and embracing with the power of the mind all creation, that tasted the beginning of renewal, heard its lament of the fact that it will not come soon the time when it shall abandon the coat of oldness and corruption and will dress in the new garment, filled with blissful life.

We need to renew ourselves and the thirst of novelty will always be quenched, for the new, spiritual life – and the novelty within ourselves will quench the thirst of novelty. May God bestow it upon us! I cannot wish for anything better in the new coming year!

(Translation from: Sfântul Teofan Zăvorâtul, Răspunsuri la întrebări ale intelectualilor, volumul II, Editura Cartea Ortodoxă, 2007, pp. 159-161)