Summary: Why some Americans may not have a Happy New Year. They are not in touch with the true source of happiness.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
“Why Many Americans May Not Have A Happy New Year”
Jan. 1, 2006 – New Year’s Day
Rev. Wm. A. Huegel
Happy New Year!
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. Eccl. 3:11-13
This text follows the famous verses that declares there is “A Time for Everything”
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
The text goes on to say 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.
Repeat: 12 “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live”. There’s nothing wrong with being happy. So, Happy New Year!
After all, we are Americans and the U.S. Constitution guarantees us right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Whatever makes us happy – whether that’s the pursuit of a particular religion, or involvement with the political process, or working, marrying, or traveling. Whatever that is that makes us happy, we have the right to go after it. The book of Ecclesiastes says there is nothing better than to be happy and to do good while we live. Being happy and doing good seem intertwined, however. There is no sense here that we can be happy at the expense of other people. We need to do good in the process of seeking to be happy.
It is traditional for us to wish each other a Happy New Year every January 1st. As your pastor, I do indeed wish you that. I pray that your life will be filled with contentment, prosperity, peace, and joy. I hope that you will find some measure of happiness in 2006.
There was a mix of happiness and unhappiness in 2005. We had a number of Hurricanes, devastating tornadoes, an overwhelming Tsunami Wave that hit parts of Indonesia and nearby countries. The Hurricane force winds slammed against the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi and Florida. Tornadoes ripped apart various towns of the mid-West. I hope this year is a lot happier.
It seems that some won’t be having a very “Happy New Year”. Mr. Barna quotes a 24 year old man from Washington who complains, “Look, I’m going to age in a world where crime, disease, poverty, rotten politics, incompetent government, unethical and insincere religion, environmental decay and lousy public education are the norm. … He goes on to say, “I’m not excited about the future, because it’s not a future worth being excited about.” (p 28) This man is from the prosperous state of Washington. Pastor Lubin. I wonder how he would feel if he were living out his life in Haiti? He doesn’t sound very happy.
It’s strange though. Americans and Europeans should have a very Happy New Year indeed. I have been reading a very fascinating book. I’ll be sharing some of my findings with you this morning. It is called "The Progress Paradox - How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse."
Some things might get a lot better for a few of us. For example, if you are very lucky, you might be able to own your own airplane. More and more that is a luxury, not for the super-rich, the millionaires, but simply for the well-off oil-field workers and mid-career professionals.
Now one of the problems with owning your own airplane is the question of where do you go? What do you do? After all, the romance of sitting behind the controls of your own personal aircraft can wear off after a while. Well, you’ll be glad to know that someone has thought of that. There now exists fly-in restaurants. You can buy a book entitled, The $100 Hamburger : A Guide to Pilots’ Favorite Fly-In Restaurants, Second Edition (It retails for $25.00, but you can get it on Amazon.com for a mere $16.47)