Luke 2:16-21 New Year’s Resolutions
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed… And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
Nine months before the birth of her son, Mary made a vow to the Lord. She said to him, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” From that moment on, Mary never looked back. She never allowed doubts to drive a wedge between her and God. She never allowed her fears to bring about thoughts of regret or remorse for what she had done. Ever since she made a promise to the Lord, Mary dedicated her life to serving the Lord.
It’s become a Christian tradition that at the start of a new year to make some New Year’s resolutions. Let’s keep the tradition, even though we know how difficult it is to be faithful to them till the very end.
I resolve to be an honest man. No more excuses. No more blame games. It’s time to start addressing issues, not hiding them. It’s time to bring it all to the forefront: the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s time to take responsibility for what I do. It’s time to bring out the real person. Only then will I be the man that God created me to be. If I resolve to be an honest man, then the Lord will work his wonders through me. He will share with me his divine life and mission. Honest men are jewels in the crown of the Lord. Liars are thorns.
In the movie Les Miserables, Jean Valjean’s vow to be an honest man took him where he did not want to go. It took him to a court room, where, to give freedom to a wrongly accused man meant he had to reveal his true identity. It took him to a dying former employee who revealed a sick child. It took him to take care of a child, which led him to be a father. Finally, it led him to save the life a young man.
But what his vow truly led him to was to see the face of God in the faces of all the people divine providence led him to. The vow that Jean Valjean took led him to the meaning of love, compassion, mercy and understanding. It led him to God.
This is a movie, but this is true. I encourage all to take this vow today.
Pray more. Worry less. Jesus said to his apostles: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God, have faith also in me. This year make a resolution to pray more and worry less. I am not a dreamer. I am not an idealist. I consider myself a very practical person. Why worry? Worrying drains the soul. Worrying wearies the body. What will worrying about something do for me? Answer: it will take away the little I still have! If in the past year you lost your job and are worried sick about it, then most likely you will lose your health as well. If you recently received a diagnosis you did not expect and are worried about the prognosis, then chances are you’ll isolate yourself from the living. If in the past year you lost a spouse and are worried about it, then chances are you’ll lose your sanity, children and friends as well.
Praying is not a wonder drug. It will not necessarily cure your sickness, bring back your spouse or find you a job, but it will help you to keep the priorities clear and everything in perspective; that is, two things that worrying has a tendency to cloud and confuse.
Because she prayed, Mary was able to keep all her questions for later (in her heart). This is how Mary kept her sanity. This is how she was able to move on. This is how Mary was able to smile every time she saw her child. This is why Mary saw the face of God, even in the midst of total darkness.
Pray. Pray to the Lord. Resolve to pray every day the prayer that is found in today’s first reading: “May the Lord bless me and keep me. May the Lord let his face shine upon me, and be gracious to me. May the Lord look kindly upon me and give me peace” (cf. Nm 6:22-27).