On Resolving Anew

Mankind has ever been prone to measure duration by events, setting up definite milestones on the banks of the steadily flowing river of time, from which reckoning might be had both forward and backward. The best recognized of these waymarks in human experience is the New Year, generally accepted as the closing of a series of events in the drama of life, while at the same time lifting the curtain to new scenes. In view of this, it is not altogether illogical that men should have become accustomed at the year's end to review the happenings of the twelve months just finished, to weigh and measure their progress, and out of the fullness of this experience to resolve anew to enter upon, perhaps, drastic reforms, looking to a more complete realization of their ideals. One finds in the Bible much support for these revivals of higher aspiration. Did not the psalmist plead, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me"?

The levity with which New Year's resolutions are often regarded, from the standpoint of human experience, has, however, undoubtedly been quite justified. Yet resolves to be good, to strive to realize one's higher ideals, to leave the sordid and mean for the noble and worthy, are in themselves commendable and praiseworthy, however far one may fall short in the realization of these aspirations. The fact in itself that one has the desire to be and to do better, to rise above an unsatisfactory level into the plane of possibility of greater and nobler accomplishments, merits applause and encouragement. It is the first step—and a long one—toward worthier living. Obviously, men never attain to heights to which they do not aspire. That task is never accomplished to which one does not set his hand. However fleeting the aspiration, the fact of its having found place in desire, even for an instant, bespeaks a right purpose and at least its momentary attainment. Lowell touched upon this in a familiar verse:—

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

"Happy New Year!"
December 30, 1922

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.