Feature Article of Monday, 2 January 2012
Columnist: Anyimadu-Ahenkae, Augustine
– REFLECTIONS ON THE NEW YEAR
BY: AUGUSTINE ANYIMADU-AHENKAE
Life is very beautiful, especially when human beings, the most important of all God’s creation, allow the source of life to breathe through it and direct it. Filled with births and deaths, beginnings and endings, constancy and change, ephemerality and permanence, transformations from one state to another, the existence of these different cycles of life give us renewed vitality, take out boredom, and ensure that we have new power and strength to go through each moment, as long as we get closer to this omnipotent source of our human existence. Celebrating a new year, however, it behoves us to but pause for a moment of reflection on the occurrence of a new year, a new beginning, new life, and what transforming power this holds out for us in our individual lives, families, relationships, and as a nation, if only we can have the eyes enough to see it.
JOY OF NEWNESS
Take but a moment of reflection and cast your mind to the world around you. What new thing does not bring joy? The conception and birth of a new baby (in the proper context), the purchase of a new property, uniform, the acquisition of a new friend, spouse, job, house and many others, brings joy and satisfaction to us. On the contrary, the death or end of many things brings us sadness as we ruminate on our loss, and our only consolation comes to us when that which is dead is only transformed into another state of existence which may even be better than the old one. Yet still, we still rue the loss. Example is when a beloved leaves us and travels to another place where we cannot have face to face contact with him or her for a time. A bigger one is if a beloved dies. If he or she died in the Lord our faith may console us that the departed is in a better state of life, yet the fact of the person’s absence, as well as its implications, move us into uncontrollable tears. Not so for a new birth, and not so for a new beginning. A new beginning is always a happy one, because a new beginning brings us hope. I repeat the word: hope.
HOPE OF A NEW YEAR
Why do people all over the world take extra pains to rejoice on January first as we do it now? Why are we so happy to see off the old year and usher in the new with much fanfare, felicitous celebrations and such excitement ? Ushering in 2012 in Times Square, New York, thousands of people watched as the traditional New Year ball, with thirty thousand lights this time around, was lowered down a high pole and Frank Sinatra’s “New York New York” was played. Many Ghanaians spent the time in various churches, thanking God for seeing us through the old year and dedicating the new year to Him. In Tokyo, BBC reports that many released helium balloons in front of the Tokyo Tower at midnight, attaching notes on the balloons. The notes listed their hopes for 2012. Why not? After the earthquake and tsunami devastated much of North-East Japan in 2011, who would not hope for a better year? The celebrations were carried in most parts of our planet, but the Tokyo example tells why we all do celebrate it with such excitement: Hope. Hope for the New Year. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said he hoped the new year would move towards the democracy that protesters had started in the Spring of the previous year. Political leaders who sent New Year’s message across the face of the earth expressed hope that one problem or another would be solved in the New Year. Same for religious and traditional leaders. Individuals expressed the hope that the New Year would see their fortunes rise or one problem or another would be solved. So did families. It is all about hope, hope, hope. It is as if the New Year carried some magical wand in its sleeves to come and dish out answers to requests. Yes it does carry powers, yes it has transforming powers, to which we shall soon turn our attention, but the way we use it is why we do not get the desired results, and still mark time, or are so quick to wish off the year when we don’t see anything as it advances. Hope. Hope. Hope.
MERE WISHES OR HOPE? CHANGE OLD WAYS FOR BETTER RESULTS
HOPE IS NECESSARY for life and progress. HOPE is the foundation of FAITH, and Faith moves mountains for us. So hope is necessary. But hope is not to be blind. Hope must rest on something. Mere wishes cannot be hope, even if that is the way we call it. Unfortunately, as individuals, families, as a nation, and as a larger global community, we have for far too often hoped about some desired results while our actions go contrary to what we seek, and yet expect the results. For far too often people who expect the New Year to bring them peace do not cease to incense factions or blatantly cheat their opponents and yet expect the injustice to be swept under the carpet. Incumbent third world political leaders hoping for peaceful and acceptable elections keep on “building” political “structures” that will enable them cheat their opponents and rig elections. Yet they hope and pray for peaceful elections. Why not first stop thinking about cheating or rigging so that no one will have cause to honestly contest the results? Many Citizens hope that things get better for the nation in the New Year, yet they fail to shirk their old rotten mentality about “ABAN ADWUMA”- the notion that anything belonging to the government may be looted through corruption. Individuals looking for jobs hope and expect the New Year to land them in a better financial situation, yet they are not willing to change any of their old ways or approaches, and may waste tons of their time in drinking bars, on dating sites, gossiping on the phone, cursing themselves, accepting their poor conditions, or still keeping the poverty-laden vices like procrastination, laziness, fear, and what have you. How can things change for you so long as you remain in the old ways? Spouses who expect their marriages to be better in the New Year have not stopped the old routine that engenders arguments and fights, nor have they improved upon their appreciation of each other or each other’s worth, yet somehow, they expect things to change. How? Single ladies and gentlemen seeking husbands and wives have not stopped destroying other people’s marriages – through adultery, or destroying they themselves through fornication, use of charms, withcraft etc, and yet expect that the New Year sees them in successful marriages. How can you gain what you destroy? In churches, workplaces and homes, people desire to have something like this brother or sister’s talents, riches, knowledge etc., yet keep backbiting, envying, negatively criticizing, hating, or even attempting to block him or her from operating! Dude, are you really serious you want to be like him? That’s mere wish, not hope, sister. As individuals, partners, families, associations, a nation, a global community, we seriously need to change our old ways if we want the desired results in this New Year. Otherwise, if we keep the old habits and patterns of thought, we are sure to get the same old results, and wish the New Year away even before it reaches its half-way mark.
TRANSFORMING POWER OF NEWNESS
There is however the magic of the New Year which we cannot take for granted in our quest to see a better year for ourselves. It is the transforming power of newness. It is conspicuous all around us. Newness refreshens. Newness re-empowers. Newness revitalizes. Newness shirks off the tired, worn out and depreciated old self and re-strengthens us with a new amazing power and energy that leads towards transformation. This is the secret of a new day, a new beginning, a new year. Unfortunately, it is a secret many do not seem to grab. Like a snake shedding off its skin the new body is not only more beautiful but also more powerful, agile and stronger than the old skin, especially in the latter’s last stages. No wonder even the Lord promised Nehemiah and his group that the glory of the new temple shall surpass that of the old. How can the transforming power of newness help us achieve our dreams for this year? Simple. We use this power to chase our dreams, rather sitting and waiting and hoping that things will naturally turn themselves around for our benefit. We have to make a firm resolution to change the ways we used last year which did not help us, and use this new amazing vitality that the new year brings to take bold steps towards accomplishing the many dreams we have. As individuals, families, churches, and as a nation, may ODOMANKOMA the TWERDUAMPON open our eyes of hope to take practical steps towards our 2012 dreams, Faith in God to move all the mountains that stand in our way, and love enough to go through this year with a pure heart and clean hands in all our dealings with God and man. May our eyes be opened to the refreshening power God has put at our disposal at the dawn of every new day, New Year, NEW BEGINNING! May the end of this year come and find us, twelve months after now, that we are rejoicing over our new year’s day resolutions which have all come true, because we entrusted our lives to God through faith, as well as taking concrete action towards their accomplishment. May we see and use the new chance that this New Year brings along, seizing the moment and gathering the new momentum to pursue the dreams as if our very existence as individuals, families, NATION depended on it. AFEHYIA PA OOO! AFE NKO MMETO YEN. Happy, happy, Happy new year to you all! God bless you,
- Augustine Anyimadu-Ahenkae
New Year’s dawn, 2012
New York City, New York, USA.