“You visit the earth” (Psalm 65:9)

The creator of time and all creation, the Almighty God who bestows eras with His mercy, has enrich us another new year, for we have transpired from the Year of Luke to the Year of John! Gratitude be to God!

Prophet David has spoken about the mercy of God and His work on earth saying, “You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it. You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth. You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance. They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, And the little hills rejoice on every side.  The pastures are clothed with flocks; The valleys also are covered with grain; They shout for joy, they also sing.” (Psalm 65:9-13)

God provides all the necessary things in life both for righteous and sinners. He has graced us the rain to shower the earth for He is merciful. He has embraced the gift of Flowers from leaves and the tilling of the land to produce fruits for our consumption. He gave us hope of living in another year. His gift is limitless and full mercy.

Saint John Chrysostom have taught about living in hope of new year. His words are as follows:   If then you have a clean conscience, you hold a feast continually, nourished with good hopes, and reveling in the delight of the good things to come; then just as if you conducted yourself lacking boldness, and you were liable for many sins, and if there be ten thousand feasts and holy-days, you would be in no better state than those grieving. For what is the benefit to me of bright days, if my soul is darkened in its conscience? If then one wishes to gain some benefit from the new moon, do this. When you see the year ending, thank the Lord, because he had led you into this cycle of years. Stab the heart [‘prick the heart’] reckon up the time of your life, say to oneself: “The days run and pass by, the year’s fill-up, we have progressed much of the way; What good is there for us to do? Will we not depart from here, empty and deserted of all righteousness, the judgment at the doors, the rest of life leads us to our old age.”

These things, [from the new moon], contemplate on New Year’s Day, these from the circuit of the years, recollect. Let us reckon the future day, no longer something spoken to us that, which was said to the Jews by the prophet, “Their days slipped away in vanity, and their years with haste”[Psalm 77:33, 70]. This is the feast which I mentioned, the continual one, and the one not delayed by the passage of years, not limited by days, both the rich and the poor will be able to celebrate in the same manner: For here there is no want of wealth, nor provision, but only of virtue. Do you not have wealth? But you have the fear of God, a treasure more fruitful than all wealth, not consumed, not changed, not spent-up. Look to heaven, and to the heaven of heavens, the earth, the sea, the air, the kinds of the animals, the manifold plants, the whole nature of human-beings; consider the angels, archangels, the powers above; recall that these are all creations of your Master. It is thus not poverty to be the slave of the providential Master if you have him as your propitious Lord. The observation of days is not of Christian philosophy [teaching, wisdom, see notes], but of Hellenic error.

Into the city above you are enrolled [i.e. as a citizen] into the polity [2] there you are reckoned, you will mingle with the angels; where light does not give way to darkness, nor day fulfilled tonight, but is always day, always light. To these, therefore, let us look continually. “For seek”, he says, “the things above, where Christ is seated at God’s right hand.” [Colossians 3:1] You have nothing in common with the earth, where the courses of the sun are, and circuits, and days; but if you live rightly, the night will be day for you; just as then for those living in licentiousness and drunkenness and intemperance, their day is turned into the darkness of night, not with the sun’s extinction, but the darkening of their mind by inebriation.

To be passionately excited towards these days, and to receive greater pleasure in them, and to kindle lights in the forum, and to weave wreaths, is of childish folly. But you have been freed from this weakness, and come into adulthood, and been enrolled in the polity of the heavens. Do not, therefore, kindle a sensate fire in the forum but kindle spiritual light in your mind. “For let”, he said, “your light shine before men, so they may see your good works, and they will glorify our Father in the heavens.” [Matthew 5:16; Chrysostom has ‘our Father’ for ‘your Father’].

This light brings you much recompense. Do not crown the door of the house but display such a way of life so that you will receive the crown of righteousness on your head from the hand of Christ. Let nothing be done rashly, nor simply; thus, Paul enjoins that all things be done for the glory of God. “For whether you eat,” he said, “or drink, or do whatever, do all for the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians. 10:31]

May God’s mercy be with us, Amen!

Source: A Homily for the New Year, by Saint John Chrysostom.