Celebrating New Beginnings

By Daniel Downs
January 01, 2013

On New Year’s Day, we celebrate a new beginning. Our celebration is not merely the beginning of a new year but a diversity of aspirations and goals that reflects our national, ethic, cultural, economic, political, and even religious diversity. More than that, many celebrants will greet the New Year with a new resolve to overcome pain and adversity. Even beyond the suffering oppression, poverty, or loss due conflict and injustice, they will desire to overcome the self-induced pain and adversity resulting from an inebriated New Year’s gala. The common term for this nearly overwhelming problem is hang-over. The resolve is usually short-lived mainly because those who vow never to do it again were all too willing to get plastered again knowing the likely consequences, but there is hope.

A lot of people have already discovered that hope. Those same people also welcomed the New Year with festive celebration too. They partied hardily together with the Creator of the new day. They drank the elixir of life and hope thankful that they made it to the end of the old year with anticipation that the New Year will be better than the last. By the way, their partying didn’t require a hot beanie elixir to help cure morning sickness.

Am I saying God-partiers are better than others? No, I’m saying they found the cure for the problem.

Maybe I should say problems. Surely, our society needs a better year than the last. We need less violence, corruption, infidelity, greed, strife, less poverty, less addiction, less disasters, and host of other issues. Our society could certain use more prosperity, better relationships, better health, and other common goods.

Notice, I didn’t mention alcohol. Gluttony has become an officially recognized problem. It’s unfortunate that only one symptom—obesity–has been the focus. Every kind of gluttony is a problem. Consuming too much of food, drink, games, news, and all kinds of stuff is too. Addiction is another type of gluttony. So is too much debt both individual and national.

It would be good if someone created a therapy group for those addicted to consuming and spending too much. It called Addicted to Debt Anonymous. All politicians and public officials should receive automatic membership. Public anxiety over falling off the fiscal cliff would never again be a problem because those intoxicated by the power of spending the money of others just might be able to overcome their addiction.

As mentioned earlier, of these problems are moral ones. Many secularists claim morality is possible without God. Yes, it’s true to a degree. All humans are more by nature. Therefore, non-religious people will demonstrate that fact. Equally true is the fact that religious people demonstrate they have difficulty with moral consistency or maturity. By moral maturity, I mean consistent practice in all areas of life, which is the actual problem that religion seeks to solve. Every honest person, religious or not, will likely agree that genuine moral maturity requires a higher power.

If may add, the underlying message of the Christian gospels and epistles goes beyond prescription. Christianity claims that Jesus’ suffering and death satisfied divine justice for any and all moral crimes. The purpose is to enable God to train and empower us toward living mature moral lives. God’s intends all of us to live according to his moral law forever and He has made it possible judicially to overlook our failures while we persistently seek to achieve the goal of moral maturity. Christianity also claims that Jesus was raised from the dead to oversee our success. In other words, God is personally involved in our attainment of His goal for our future.

If all of us would seek to live morally mature lives with God’s help, we might discover this time next year that we actually had a much better year than anticipated. The partiers among us might even find that life can be a party intoxicated by all things good. This common good is created by morally mature individuals in family and society.

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