Beloved St. James family members.
Greetings in the name of Christ Jesus, the God who became human for us. We welcome the New Year with sweet dreams and new hopes. The name of January takes its name from the Roman god Janus. To all Romans Janus was the god of beginning and ends, presiding over every entrance and departure. Janus was represented by a double-faced head. Naturally, two of his eyes look forward to what is ahead and the other two eyes take a glance of what passed off. This significant concept centers around hope and retrospection. At the dawn of the new year, we have to look forward to planning for the year ahead, looking back to analyze the past experiences, and taking stock of the previous years loss and profit. Let us remember with gratitude the blessings God has showered us on the threshold of the new year. Thus, David glorified God “Bless the Lord O! my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O! my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
As we enter a new year, we need to learn these three key qualities in our personal and spiritual lives to develop the habit of focus and concentration. They are decision, discipline, and determination. Fear of insecurities prevents us from qualitative living. “Until you cross the bridge of your insecurities, you can’t begin to explore your possibilities” Tim Fargo. The new year comes with infinite possibilities. Try to break the shell of pride and self-centeredness. Don’t pin-point the negatives. Avoid ‘talk behind the doors’ that will improve our credibility. Let us try not to be ‘Touch-me-not.’ Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” No life is appreciated without being criticized. When we criticize others, we should also allow ourselves to criticize our own lives. Don’t try to be a slave to the opinions of others to the point that it destroys our personality. For this, as Apostle Paul says, it is necessary to strengthen the “inner being” in us. Life is lived from the inside out. The very core of our personality is our values. Everything we do on the outside is dictated and determined by our values on the inside, whether clear or fuzzy. Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” The happiest people in this world today are those who are living in harmony with their innermost convictions and values.
God has given us all an opportunity to enter a new year. Let’s all strive in the new year to lead a life with convictions and values. Instead of focusing only on ourselves and our own success, let us try to shape our thoughts and actions that make room for social connection and community feelings. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others (1Cori. 10:24). The Christian culture is a culture that concerns others. Let us dedicate our lives to lead a fruitful Christian life in the new year.
Wishing you all a blessed and happy New Year 2024.
God bless you all.
Ajith Varghese Achen