The Signs of the Times



January 7, 1903

A Happy New Year


The old year has gone. The words, “I wish you a Happy New Year,” are repeated far and near, by parents and children, brothers and sisters, acquaintances and friends. In a world like ours, this New Year's greeting seems more appropriate than the “Merry Christmas,” so lately echoed from lip to lip. On every hand are pale faces, brows furrowed from pain and care, or forms bowed with age. Wherever we turn may be seen the garb of mourning. The suffering, the careworn, and the aged can no longer be merry. In many a household there is a vacant chair; a beloved child or a husband and father, whose presence gladdened the last Christmas and New Year's festivity, is gone from the circle. To that bereaved family a merry Christmas seems a mockery. But whatever the cares and sorrows of life, whatever its mistakes and errors, the words, “A Happy New Year,” uttered as an expression of love and respect, fall pleasantly upon the ear. ST January 7, 1903, par. 1

And yet, are not these kindly wishes often forgotten with the utterance? How often we fail of carrying their import into the daily life, and thus aid in their fulfilment! How often the New Year's greeting is uttered by insincere lips, from hearts that would not forego one selfish gratification in order to make others happy! ST January 7, 1903, par. 2

Fathers and mothers, while you wish your children a Happy New year, will you not strive in the fear of God to make it a happy year? Will you not lead your dear ones to the true source of peace and joy? Will you not consecrate your own hearts to God, that you may exert a sanctifying influence upon your children? Will you not separate them from sin, and by living faith connect them with God? ST January 7, 1903, par. 3

A mother may bestow upon her daughters an education that will be invaluable, by training them to bear their share of the family burdens. A father may give his sons a capital worth more than gold or silver, by teaching them to love useful employment. Parents, now is the time to form in your children habits of industry, self-reliance, and self-control; to cultivate economy and business tact. Now is the time to teach them to show courtesy and benevolence toward their fellow-men, and love and reverence for God. ST January 7, 1903, par. 4

By a faithful discharge of duty you may make this a happy year for your children. Home should be to them the most attractive place on earth; and it may be made such by kind words and deeds, and, underlying all, a steadfast adherence to the right. Fathers and mothers, teach your children that the only way to be truly happy is to love and fear God; and emphasize this lesson by your example. Let the children see that the peace of Christ rules in your hearts, and that His love controls your lives. ST January 7, 1903, par. 5

Children who greet your father and mother with “A Happy New Year,” will you make this a happy year to them? It is in your power to make it happy or unhappy. You may lighten their burdens and give them courage and hope, or you may fill their hearts with anxiety and distress. You can not make their new year happy if you live for self-gratification. ST January 7, 1903, par. 6

Begin this year with right purposes and pure motives. Bear in mind that day by day your words and acts are recorded in the books of heaven. You must meet them when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened. ST January 7, 1903, par. 7

How often your lips utter the kindly greeting, “I wish you a Happy New Year,” and then in a few moments speak impatient, fretful words! How many children are always ready to dispute about trifles, unwilling to make the smallest sacrifice for others! To such the new year will bring no real happiness. They may indulge in boisterous mirth, but their hearts know no peace or joy. Will you not come to Jesus with penitence and humility, that He may cleanse you from sin, and prepare you for His kingdom? As you do this, you will have the happiest year that you have ever known. It will bring joy in heaven and joy on earth. ST January 7, 1903, par. 8

Many are the gifts and greetings exchanged on New Year's day, by parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, friends and acquaintances. When the day is over, many feel a sense of relief. They have done their duty in bestowing presents, and smiles and compliments for the occasion, and there the matter is supposed to end. The next day, and the next, and onward to the end of the year, bring fretful, passionate words, faultfinding, recrimination, and careless neglect of the dear ones of the household. Oh, the record of such a year is one that angels are grieved and ashamed to register. It brings to friends and kindred a gift of sorrow, a burden of unkindness, that crushes hope and makes the grave look desirable. ST January 7, 1903, par. 9

Do we truly wish our loved ones a happy new year? Then let us make it such to them by kindness, by sympathy, by cheerfulness, by unselfish devotion. If we connect with God, the source of peace, and light, and truth, His Spirit will flow through us, to refresh and bless all around us. ST January 7, 1903, par. 10

This year may be our last year of life. Shall we not enter upon it with thoughtful consideration? Shall not sincerity, respect, benevolence, mark our deportment toward all? May this year be a time that shall never be forgotten,—a time when Christ shall abide with us, saying, “Peace be unto you.” ST January 7, 1903, par. 11