Hark! A New Year Bell is Ringing
A Post-Christmas and New Year’s Message
Jeremy Hernandez-Lum Tong CONTRIBUTOR
Every time we come to the end of something, especially something that goes over a long period of time, we can’t help but look back at how that something went. At the end of an academic year, a theatrical rehearsal schedule for a completed show, birthdays, etc., we always look back to see what has been accomplished in its own relevant way.
But there’s something different on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I certainly don’t feel the same way on those days as I would on say the end of my academic year, or on my birthday. I think what is special about the end of the calendar year is that the entire world shares in that moment of looking back. It’s not just a few persons who are involved. It’s all of us. The questions we ask ourselves are basically: “What have I accomplished, and where do I go from here?” Now, one can benefit from this fun fact in two ways: On an individual level, it is a good thing that we have that regular and annual moment that provokes us to stop and reflect. The questions, “What have I accomplished?” and “Where do I go from here?,” give us a pattern where we can take something small and work on it for a period of time. “This year I will work on my career. This year I will work on my relationship with a relative,” etc. The challenge, however, is that we do not always take this end-of-year moment to develop that willpower to remain faithful to these resolutions.
We always make some resolution to become a better person, and we have a multiplicity of ways on how to do so. But the one ingredient we always neglect is the decision on faithfulness. Are these resolutions I make going to be done with faithfulness? Or will I slide away when the going gets tough? Faithfulness does not necessarily mean success. We can be faithful and still fail due to life’s circumstances. However, success cannot exist without faithfulness. Faithfulness does not even mean religious fervour. Rather, it means I meant everything I said, and I said everything I meant, and these words I said will be honoured 100 percent.
In our Christmas message, we reflect on a child from God, who sought to keep His promise to His creation, and was therefore faithful. We reflect on a mother who, during late pregnancy, endured numerous challenges (being made to travel faraway, denial of housing accommodations upon going into labour, then having to flee days later because the king sought to kill her son). But she remained ever faithful. No matter what challenges came, they were faithful. So you must ask yourself, “Will I be faithful to whatever New Year’s resolutions I make for myself?”
And so, on a global level, this end-of-year moment of looking back should encourage us to ponder on our world. The famous phrase: “Peace on Earth, goodwill to men,” is not simply something we feel or do, but the fruit of something deeper. It is the fruit that blooms only from an intrinsic and genuine recognition of each individual with his or her own interests, talents and values, and a wish for their well-being. The Son of God came to dwell among humanity in the lowest of forms. That says to us: “You have value.” Upon being asked what the world can do to promote world peace, Mother Teresa responded, “Go Home and Love your family.” In looking back at 2017 and asking the first question: “What have we accomplished?,” we find that, as a world, the answer is: “not enough.” Consequently, upon asking the second question: “Where do we go from here?,” our answer should be, “Let me go and love my family, and truly develop a respect for another person from deep within.”
To add that indispensable ingredient: Let me be faithful to it right through. No matter how last year has been, our future still depends on our decisions going forward. I wish everyone the very best in their goals, individually and globally, for 2018. May we all be faithful to those goals.
Jeremy Hernandez-Lum Tong is a third-year USMC student pursuing majors in Ethics, Society and Law, and Philosophy. He is an active member of the St. Mike's Community and his involvements, past and present, include SMCSU, USMC Campus Ministry, SMC Troubadours and more.