Oh, it’s new year again! How are there only 365 days in a year? If only we could double or triple the length of a year, then I should be able to complete my New Year's Resolutions. Wait a second! I haven't changed my resolutions for a few years now.
Every end of December and beginning of January, most of us will try to plan out some “new” resolutions. We will keep them up for the first few weeks but eventually go back to our same old selves (In my case, same waist size.) What are your New Year's Resolutions? To try to workout three times a week? Be a nicer person than you were last year? Eat healthier, cut out sugar? Study harder? Be more polite? Help out the needy? And the list goes on and on. Everyone can name at least a dozen of them without thinking too hard.
If you are to shop in a bookstore, you will see some interesting book titles in the self-help section: Sustaining the New Year’s Resolutions, How to keep up your kids’ new year resolutions? (C’mon I do not even know how to keep up my own and I need to teach my children? Sigh! ), New Year Resolutions for Dummies… etc. Okay we get it! I think people seriously need help.
A resolution is one or a list of goals that we aim to do in order to improve ourselves. In other words, we want to change! When we look at history, humans were always looking for Messiah. For Christians, we found Jesus two thousand years ago. The action - looking for messiah - is actually a form of seeking a change. At that time, people wanted to have messiah in order to improve their unjust environment.
During the first Christmas, Mary and Joseph could not find a place to give birth because all the rooms were occupied in Bethlehem. They ended up in a manger for the night (Yes, it sounded like there was not much joy in the first Christmas, only chaos!) Everyone was busy with their own businesses and could not sacrifice a clean place for Jesus, our Messiah. There was no room in people’s hearts to accept Jesus - the essential change of lives.
Let’s think about our own lives. Do we have the correct elements needed to make improvement for ourselves? Are we capable of removing all the obstacles that would prevent us from making improvements? If your resolution is to “eat healthier” then throw away all
the junk food you have bought during the grocery sales now
! Yes, I am serious. Go now! We need to be dedicated! We need to completely transform from “eating junk” to “not consuming any junk food at all."
The other way to look at transformation is to look at the Eucharist. Jesus used bread and wine to symbolize his body and blood. The symbolism of bread and wine is very interesting. When we use wheat to make bread, we need to first breakdown the wheat. Then, we need to take some time to mix it with the yeast, let it sit for few hours before heating it in the oven to create bread. So, the wheat needs to die first, then go through a process of transformation to become bread. It’s a long suffering process. The process of making wine is the same. The grapes need to die first before they can be transformed into wine.
Remember that sacrifices are needed to create change. If you ever encounter difficulties in fulfilling your New Year's Resolutions or making changes in life, think of the Eucharist. Pray to Him. Ask Jesus for help when you are stuck in the long-suffering process. He will give you strength to fight against all obstacles. Remember that you are not alone (I am still learning this!)
Happy New Year!
Billy Chan, a former radio host and motivational speaker, spent the past ten years working with youth in Montreal. He enjoys using humor to illustrate his relationship with God. In his blog, you will find reflections on his experience with youth ministry and his special way of working with youth today.