By Pastor Vern Kratz
I really do mean it when I say “Happy New Year!” to someone. I am very hopeful to experience happiness in 2015 and I wish that for everyone. But I think we sometimes have misplaced notions as to where true happiness comes from. And I also believe that sometimes we really are oblivious as to what would make us happy.
Some people think more money would make them happy. Some think a relationship or marriage would make them happy. Some think being older or being younger would make them happy. Some think being more beautiful or better looking would make them happy. Some think popularity would make them happy. Some feel they would be happier in a different job. Some feel they would be happier if they lived in a different city.
Happiness and contentment are closely related. My New Year’s resolution is that I would learn to be more content. Contentment is a matter of our attitude. And our attitude is a matter of choice. So when I choose to be content I am choosing to be happy.
Take a newborn infant. They have no idea how to communicate other than to cry. For a while that is their only form of communication. And there is no variance as to whether it means, “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired” or ”I’m wet” or “I’m scared” or “I’m sick” or “I’m hurt.” They just simply cry for anything they have need of at that moment because in that moment they are not happy – they are not content.
When you see a quiet baby sleeping peacefully, we say “What a contented child.” That’s what I want: to be content, and therein lies my happiness. Now that I’m older and more mature I don’t need to cry to let someone know I’m hungry, or I’m hurt, or I’m sick. In fact, I can learn to be content even when situations around me may be tiresome, unpredictable, or less than desirable and out of my control – I can still choose to be content.
And when I choose to be content I find that I am happy. So happiness doesn’t happen when I get something, or when my situation changes, happiness happens when I choose to be content in spite of my situation.
So if we really want 2015 to be a Happy New Year (and I really do want that for you) then we can’t wait for happiness to come to us. We need to learn to be content and then we will be happy!
“… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11