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If We Will

"A Happy New Year to you!" It is sounding in our ears again, the old greeting. Old, did I say? Why, it is one of those things that never grow old; it is as new, and fresh, and full of meaning today as it was when our fathers and fathers' fathers spoke it to one another in "Ye olden time."

With what freshness and joy it comes to us from the lips of friends, acquaintances and strangers; in the home, in the street, through the post; and our hearts leap with joy as we answer back, "A Happy New Year to you!"

Yes, every year thousands of lips repeat it, and really wish and desire it for themselves and others. And yet how few really enjoy the years as they come and go. How little real happiness there seems to be in life for if the great majority. It seems with many as if their happiness began and ended with the wish and greeting. Oh, why is it the people are not happy? Happiness is normal; unhappiness is abnormal. Joy is natural; misery is unnatural. We hear and read a good deal today about "The New Thought," but is it really "new "? No, it is as old as the time when "The morning stars sang together, and the Sons of God shouted for joy." As old as the "Sweet Singer of Israel," who tuned his harp and chanted, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want"; as old as the Prophet-Poet who sang, "Comfort ye, Comfort ye, my people, saith the Lord." The sayings of Jesus are full of the "new thought," of joy, and happiness, and peace; and Paul's writings simply teem with the gospel of gladness, enjoyment, and plenty. But, alas! having ears the people hear not, and having eyes they see not; and looking ever down, instead of up, out instead of in, they still with one breath cry, "A Happy New Year!" while with the next they cry—as they turn again to the old pain, the old sorrow, the old heart-ache—

Brief life is here our portion,
Brief sorrow, live-long care.
—From Brief Life is Here Our Portion by Bernard of Morlaix

It is false; these things are not our portion by right! If they are ours it is because we have made them so by our own choice, or in our blindness and ignorance. How many think they honor God and worship truly by constantly repeating, "Have mercy upon us miserable sinners!" No wonder the wished-for happiness fades from their sight, and eludes their eager grasp, when day after day they affirm that they are "miserable sinners," for "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," and "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." How different to the jubilant utterance of John the Divine: "Beloved, now are we the Sons of God!" Yes, Sons of God are we. Let us arise from the false and creed-bound attitude of "miserable sinner," and assert our true relationship with the Divine, and cry in gladness of heart, "Now are we the Sons of God! " And "If a Son," says Paul, "then an heir of God!" "All things are yours." Reader, what is lacking that would render thee happy? Is it love, companionship, friendship? Is it food or raiment? Is it health or strength? Hear what Jesus says: "Ask and receive that your joy may be full." Do we not read, "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye having all sufficiency in all things," etc. And "all things" means all things, and this is what thou art heir to. Away with misery and doubt! Away with unbelief and care! Away with gloom and sorrow! The New Year shall be happy! It shall be filled with gladness! My soul, arise thou, and claim thy birthright, thy heritage, thy heirship! Cast away from thee all that has bound thee to pain and sorrow, and "Receive, that thy joy may be full." Too long have we "Eaten the husks"; let us "Eat of the Tree of Life"; too long have we dwelt in "The far country"; let us "Arise and go unto our Father," and live here and now in the Kingdom of Heaven, "Fellow-citizens of the Saints, and of the household of God." We may, "if we will," dwell in continual peace and blessedness, for "He giveth us all things richly to enjoy." Then, indeed, shall it be a "Happy New Year," and we shall truly know "How beautiful it is to be alive." The Universe is ours, and for us.

Strong is the soul, and wise, and beautiful.
The seeds of God—like power are in us still;
Gods are we, bards, saints, heroes, if we will.
Emerson

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