Summary: Put your hand into the hand of God and go out into the darkness. That shall be to you Better than light and safer than a known way.’

Charles Dickens tells the story of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge and Marley were business partners as well as life-long friends. Both of them were very greedy, heartless and inhuman to those who worked with them as well as to the needy people around them. Seven years after the death, Marley’s ghost visits Scrooge on a christmas eve to warn him that his soul now wanders restlessly as an effect of his heartless way of life. Scrooge has still time to make amendments and avoid such a tragic consequence after his death. Scrooge got curious. He wanted to know more. Marley’s ghost told him that three spirits would visit him and tell him more.

The first spirit appears and takes him back to his lonely and sad childhood. He felt sad of not doing anything for such children who lived around him now. The spirit showed him a christmas eve on which his boss had given him a christmas gift. Then he remembered that he never gave christmas gifts to his own employees. He felt deeply guilty about it. He did not want to see any more. But then the spirit told him that they were the shadows of his own past. Then the spirit showed him his girlfriend who left him, because Scrooge loved money more than her. It was getting too much. His heart began to break with guilt and sinfullness. He said, “Enough, enough ….”

If we have done good to others, the shadows that accompany us are good. They keep us happy and constructively connected to others. But if our actions have been indifferent or harmful to others, then the shadows of our past make us sad, guilty, angry and afraid. An opinion poll conducted at the end of this year in Germany shows that only 31% of the Germans see the year 2003 as hopeful. Many step into the new year with lots of fears and anxieties of worsening their living conditions. 30% are sceptical of what the new year would bring them. We move on with our life not only with the shadows of our past, but also with the fears of the future. What matters is not what others do to us, but what we do to others.

Today we are celebrating not only the New Year 2003, but also the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. We might wonder in what way both are related. In order to gift His forgiveness, love, happiness and salvation to the world, when God approached the simple girl, Mary, she agreed without any reservation. With that gesture and response of faith, a new time in our history, a new beginning in the life of the world, the possibility of a new life breaks out. Therefore, every time we enter into a new year, the Church invites us to reflect on and try to imitate that exemplary act of Mary, which makes her the mother of God, since we believe that Jesus was fully God from the very moment of His birth. Every Christian stands at the beginning of a new year at the threshold of a new life, so that we also, like Mary, parent the love, peace, joy, forgiveness of God in our world.

When we do what Mary did in response to God’s invitation, we are not any more like Scrooge or Marley. We don’t have to be sceptical about the time that approaches us. The shadows of our daily actions will not be guilt, fear, anger, regret, doubt, or frightening visions of the past and the future, but hope, peace, happiness and trust in the goodness of God for our future. Optimism that flows from our partnership with God should be the mark of the beginning of the new year. Therefore, I wish all the readers the certainty that our faith gives us, freedom from fears and every enslaving element of life, the inner spiritual vision, strength that God gives us and the fulfillment of our desires and plans insofar as they correspond to God’s plan.

I wish you all a Glorious New Year with the words of the poem “God Knows” by Minnie Louise Haskins:

I said to the man

who stood at the gate of the year:

‘Give me a light

that I may tread safely into the unknown!’

And he replied:

‘Go out into the darkness

and put your hand into the hand of God.

That shall be to you

Better than light and safer than a known way.’

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