FAMILIES gather every New Year’s Eve to bid adieu to the old year and welcome the New Year. Many solemnly pray, others shout and even jump with joy to thank the Lord for the graces and blessings received and excitedly grateful for the abundance promised by the New Year. And with it are resolutions for a fresh start.
Every family is unique. Every family has its own history, present and future. Every family has unique stories that molded and is molding the person of every member. Stories that have lessons to learn. Stories that inspire and stories that can make us realize that our family is a gift to us and our God has a purpose why we belong to it.
Ben (not his real name), an hour before the year ended, with a pounding heart though with fear and shame prayerfully walked towards the door of his family that he left for years for another woman. He with tearful eyes bravely knocked. And with the noise of welcoming the opening of the year, the door was also widely opened for him. With warm embrace he was welcomed to his home. Indeed this is a fresh start for him to be good and responsible husband, father and grandfather.
Antonio (not his real name) was crying when the noise ushered in the New Year. He thanked the Lord for the wonderful years he had with his wife for 40 years who left him a week before the New Year. He had mixed emotions, grief because of loss of a loved one and happy that the long agony of his wife because of a serious kidney disease has ended and she is now rested in the loving hands of her Creator. The New Year is a new beginning for him to be a father same time a mother to his children.
Adena (not her real name), an only daughter in the family with five brothers is always praying for the unity of their family. Since the death of their parents, she and her brothers with their own families are not in good terms because of their properties left by their parents. Before this New Year Adena met a vehicular accident that almost took her life. Though painful, this was a blessing in disguise. Unlike many New Years of the past, this New Year was different. Her brothers with their families visited her and they had a joyful family reunion. An answered prayer for Adena, a fresh start for a close and loving family again.
A youth to whom I first shared these stories, giving a chance to him to express his realizations as this year is the Year of the Youth, he said that New Year is a fresh start to do what is right and to rise with humility and determination from our weaknesses that pull us down. Our family should be open and be supportive to members to find their way to the path towards a stronger family. Relationship should be given importance more than wealth. And every New Year should be a fresh start to aim for a healthy life for everyone in the family, healthy mind, body and spirit. So New Year is a NEW HOPE for a happier and a healthier family life.
A retired teacher concluded our conversation by saying, “New Year is loving pa more.”Yes, New Year, new life, means letting unconditional love reign in our families. We can’t forgive and accept back a sinner without loving more. We can’t be caring, patient and understanding without loving more. We can’t be generous, considerate and sensitive to the needs of others without loving more. And loving more includes praying more for the family. Thanking God for the gift of family and lifting it to God for graces and blessings to sustain it and for His guidance for His holy will for each and every member of the family.
Every family has its unique story but all families inspite of diversities have a common denominator. A family is a gift from God to every person. And every family is for God. A family in spite of its imperfection is a vehicle of a person to heaven.
May this 2019 lead us all towards our true destination by living a new life with new hope and more love.