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It’s a phrase used in almost every holiday greeting card, personal letter, or at year end parties wishing all of our friends and family a happy New Year. The new year is one universal celebration that is shared by all human beings and seems to be independent of race, national origin, or any particular religion.

All humans seem to universally recognize that the past year might not have been as good as they would have wished, but the simple act of turning over the calendar to a new page seems to give us all hope that perhaps things will be better for us in the New Year.  

Beautiful Red Berries to Brighten Our Way

But have you ever thought about what makes you truly happy? I am not talking solely about those material things such as wealth, enough food to eat, having a sturdy leak-proof roof over your head or even good health.  I think that the New Year affords us a unique opportunity to sit down and assess what truly brings a smile to our faces and lasting joy to our hearts.  

What makes me happy? Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Visit a friend in the hospital. For we folks who are aging, there seems to be plenty of opportunity.  
  2. Doing outdoors work. There’s something satifying to me to be able to care for our yard both at my home and at my place of worship. 
  3. Try planting and caring for a garden. Being able to do this simple thing truly makes man a partner with God. It’s a partnership that was started right after Adam and Eve were told to leave the garden of Eden.  
  4. Plan some kind of a family reunion. We all know that family structures and family members change over the course of time. But being able to meet face to face and share common human experiences gives us a sense of belonging and being of one. It will never be replaced by letters, e-mails, or pictures.
  5. Give God the credit of what has happened to you this past year or what will happen to you even though you might not understand his plan. Prayer does work. Use it every day.

James R. Bupp