Not long ago, a Japanese friend of ours, on his way back from Tokyo, told us that during the holiday season his relatives had avoided wishing each other a “Happy New Year” because they feared this new one would be worse than the previous, at the onset of which they had also wished each other a “Happy New Year.” This shows how ambiguous our wish of a “happy new year” could be. It is usually a synonym for success of any kind, or at the least the absence of any disaster, of unemployment, of illness, of misery, of imprisonment, of family deprivation . . .
Overall, to wish someone a “happy new year” means desiring that whatever he/she dreams would come true: being in good health, getting a job that interests him/her, having a family that satisfies him/her, possessing enough to live well, having the opportunity to take nice trips. Conversely, it also means wishing that he/she would be spared disasters, illnesses, unemployment, emotional disappointments, depression . . .
As for me, a “happy new year” is a year that would allow everyone to grow in what is essential to his/her humanity: namely, the ability to marvel at reality, the willingness to give oneself, to offer one’s own suffering, to unite oneself to Christ . . . . A “happy new year” will perhaps be a tough year, a year for the stripping of our self, or even a cruel year, but it would still be a year in which we would have remained standing in hope, strong in faith, faithful in love. A human year would be one in which we would have accepted to decrease, so as to allow God to increase in us.
I wish you all a “happy new year!” A very human year!