Having a True “Happy New Year”
How many times in the last few days have you heard these words, “Happy New Year”? Probably far more than you can remember. These words may have various meanings depending on one’s background and their own personal values. Have you ever considered the spiritual aspects and implications of this phrase?
Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount can so easily help us to see that the Bible speaks of happiness, not just at the beginning of a year, but about true happiness every day of the new year.
Jesus began His first recorded discourse with the Beatitudes. The word “beatitudes” is a Latin word for being blessed. In His sermon, Jesus used the word “blessed” nine times. The Greek word found here is far different from the way we usually define the word. When the angel announced to Mary that she was to bear the Son of God, he said, “Blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:28). The windows of heaven had been opened and the favor of God had been poured on upon the virgin. The Greek word the angel used is not the one found in the Beatitudes.
Defining the word blessed in the Beatitudes. The word blessed in Matthew 5:3-11 indicates happiness and joy. Jesus defined the source of true happiness in this first sermon.
Who is the one who is blessed (happy)? What avenue should we follow to have true happiness from heaven?
· Have a humble spirit (poor in spirit), not filled with pride
· Learning how to deal with grief (those what mourn)
· Putting others before self (those who are meek)
· Longing to be righteous (hungering and thirsting for it)
· Have a forgiving spirit (those who are merciful)
· Purity of life and soul (pure in heart)
· Sowing peace (being a peacemaker)
· Suffering for doing right (persecuted)
· Reviled (all kinds of evil falsely said about you)
Look at His conclusion. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Now that’s real happiness!
What is the motivation for seeking this kind of a happy new year? Look at the verses again and pay attention to what awaits us: being part of His kingdom here and in heaven (v. 3); being comforted by heaven (v. 4); possessing the earth in a way the ungodly will never understand (v. 5); filled with His righteousness (v. 6); receiving abundance of mercy (v. 7); seeing God (v. 8); being called God’s child (v. 9); receiving His kingdom (v. 10); being associated with the prophets and having a great reward in heaven (v. 12). Happy New Year!