Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Happy New Year!
Do you ever wish someone a “Happy New Year” without really thinking about what it means?
I believe that God wants us to be happy, and I believe that God wants us to be happy now. As I have contemplated what the future has in store for me, I truly want 2019 to be a “happy new year.”
I think it is truly a talent and a blessing to choose happiness. My favorite characters in the books I’ve written are characters who are cheerful and happy, no matter what is going on in their lives. Anna and Felty Helmuth (The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill) are such beloved characters, in part, because they can find joy and happiness in every situation. Even when they’re sleeping in a tent in Home on Huckleberry Hill, they find a way to be cheerful.
One of my favorite characters in literature is Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery.* Anne Shirley is an orphan who has had a very hard life but still sees the wonder in everything around her. Anne knows that happiness is a choice.
“I’ve made up my mind to enjoy this drive. It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. Of course, you must make it up firmly.”
“You set your heart too much on things, Anne,” said Marilla with a sigh. “I’m afraid there’ll be a great many disappointments in store for you through life.”
“Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them. You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, ‘Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.’ But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.”
In another part of the book, Anne is quite impressed with Mrs. Allan, the new minister’s wife.
“She talked so nice about everything. I never knew before that religion was such a cheerful thing….I’d like to be a Christian if I could be one like her….I can feel [Mrs. Allan’s] glad she’s a Christian and that she’d be one even if she could get to heaven without it.”
This year, that is what I hope people would say about me—that they can tell I love being a Christian and I’d be one even if I could get to heaven without it. I hope that people see the light of Christ in my eyes and feel the love of God by how I treat them. I hope they understand that the gospel is “good news” because of how happy it makes me.
This year, I’m going to thank Heavenly Father more often for my amazing blessings. I’m going to dust off that rarely-used gratitude journal and start keeping better track of what God has done for me.
This year, I’ve made up my mind firmly. I’m going to be happy!
“I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend.”
*A special acknowledgement to S. Michael Wilcox for these insights in his book, Out of the Best Books.