One day a certain pious man was busy with his prayers, and as it was close to the New Year on the calendar he followed, he was putting extra effort into his devotions.
“Merciful God of the heavens and the earth,” he prayed, “I have not been a good son, I know that, but You can fix anything – let the New Year be a fresh start for me.”
Suddenly he became aware that he was not alone – an angel with a robe of shimmering light and wings of multi-coloured fire stood beside him. The angel said, “Pious man, I am sent to tell you that the God of Mercy and Compassion has heard your prayers, and by His wish all your transgressions from the past year will be wiped away.”
“All my transgressions,” said there man, astonished. “But they are very many!”
“Their quantity is nothing to the One who created the countless stars in the heavens and the numberless fish in the sea,” said the Angel. “Your errors are to be obliterated. And what is more, I am sent to tell you that all your ailments are likewise to be erased. By the grace of the Almighty you will enter the new year in perfect health.”
And indeed the man already felt remarkably well. “Praise the Lord,” he said, and his face beamed, “for His abundant generosity. But these blessings I do not deserve, not in the least.”
“The blessings of the Almighty can never be earned,” said the Angel. “He gives because it is His nature to give. And finally I am sent to tell you that by His sublime healing power He will cause you to forget all your animosities and resentments towards your fellow humans. You will start the new year with nothing but love and forgiveness in your heart.”
The man’s face grew suddenly longer. “Now, wait,” he said. “That’s going too far. If I have nothing but love and forgiveness in my heart, I’ll never get back the money I loaned to my brother-in-law.”