SERMON: As years wrinkle the skin, lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul

The arrival of yet a new year 2010 is very significant for a country like ours which is determined to pull itself out of the dustbin of history, and trace its own road-map for self rehabilitation.

The arrival of yet a new year 2010 is very significant for a country like ours which is determined to pull itself out of the dustbin of history, and trace its own road-map for self rehabilitation.

It is another occasion for picking ourselves up and continues the match. What has been achieved so far has made the doubting Thomas see the light at the end of the tunnel, though the same light puts to evidence the many challenges which lie along the way.

It is therefore essential that throughout the year 2010 we keep the enthusiasm in all we do if together as a nation we must achieve the desired goal of recovery.

Enthusiasm is so necessary for success because it releases the drive which may carry us over obstacles and it adds significance to all that we do.

Needless to say, the lack of it robes us of all the chances of success as says Douglas MacArthur: Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. All great men and women, the same with great nations who got to the top, are there because they did the jobs they had in hand, with enthusiasm.

A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has great enthusiasm.
In its modern use, enthusiasm means passionate devotion to or interest in a cause of subject.

And the term enthusiast refers to the kind of people who are adventurous and constantly busy with many activities with all their energy and unlimited enthusiasm. In all they do such people are marked with the sense of anticipation and planning ahead.

A truly enthusiastic person must look ahead in anticipation of what he or she wants to do and must necessarily draw a plan of action to follow, which plan at the end must be used to evaluate the work done.

To anticipate is to put in consideration a prior action that forestalls a later action. It is an act of looking forward with a foreknowledge or presentiment. One may plan for the use of his or her salary before getting it.

Robert Plutchik in his psychoevolutionary theory tells us that anticipation or being enthusiastic is an emotion which involves pleasure or at times anxiety in considering some expected or longed-for good event, or irritation at having to wait.

In brief, this specialist wants to warn us that when our brain is so focused on an event due to much anticipation or enthusiasm, it might as well send messages to our physical body with some repercussion.

This is mainly due to the way we think; in our thinking and behaviour, we are always in anticipation of a certain response which might be good or bad. That is where the fear-base comes in.

That is why there is a price to pay always in anticipation, because it might change slightly our behaviour especially in dealing with others.

It helps to know because during this period some people might smile uncontrollably due to expectations and hope while others might be sick, ill or irritated at having to wait for certain results of their effort. In any case wisdom consists of anticipation of consequences.

At the beginning of each New Year, the church celebrates the noble idea of enthusiasm, anticipation and planning in the feast commonly known as Epiphany of the Lord.

The term used in either a philosophical or literal sense may mean finding the last piece of the puzzle for the whole picture.  Almost in the same line, the Christian Epiphany refers to the visit of the wise men or the Magi, from the East who came to see the child Jesus born in Bethlehem in Judea, because being wise, they always felt missing the last piece of the puzzle which would help them understand their history in a more vivid way.

Ironically, the very people who should have raced to Bethlehem to see the Christ Child, the people of the holy city Jerusalem, did not have the same enthusiasm and they greeted the news of a newborn king with aloofness. (cf. Matthew 2:1-12)

Today these wise men endowed with a sense of anticipation, enthusiasm and planning do teach us a great lesson as far as living our Christianity is concerned.  It was, after all, the Gentiles who travelled the greatest distance to see the Infant.

That is why Jesus would later warn the non enthusiastic tenants who failed to produce for the owner that the vineyard would be leased out to others (cf. Matthew 21:33-41).

The Magi´s model of anticipation, enthusiasm and perseverance in their quest to find the newborn King continues to be a challenge for every Christian as he or she begins a New Year.

How much shall we endure for Jesus and for the truth in general? The Magi returned home “by another way.” They had anticipated the danger going back the same way. 

A true encounter with Christ may prompt a change in your lifestyle. Can you anticipate this kind of change in your life and summon up the necessary enthusiasm to see you through that change? That would be your epiphany.