Ringing in a new year with the phrase “Happy New Year” feels backward.
Because happiness is effect rather than cause, a symptom rather than source. It is fleeting and easily imitated; I can paste a smile on my face, laugh in all the right places and fool most into believing I’m happy.
Holiness, however, is another thing all together. As the source of happiness and love, goodness and truth, who could hope to pretend holiness? And if they did, what would it look like?
To be holy is not the same as being religious. Pray save me from religion — which at best is symptomatic and at worst, best not to say. Nor is holiness found by reading the Bible (or praying or whatever) but by being found in reading the Bible (or praying or whatever.) And I really do mean whatever.
To be holy is to become more whole — closer to that precious one-of-a-kind being I was created to be and become. To be holy is to be ‘set apart’– to love myself and others and God in a way that only I can and no one else is able. In that order. We only work up to loving God, by practicing on ourselves first and others second. And if we did just this, we’d be loving God too.
So my new year’s blessing for you today is, “Holy New Year.” I invite you to clear space in your mind and heart and life to practice those things which make you feel most at home in your own skin — so much so — that you forget yourself and get lost in something bigger.
Unlike happiness, the tracks of holiness are everywhere; this gorgeous sunset on a lonely stretch of Oklahoma highway found me yesterday.