NEW YORK (Jan. 2, 2014) – Happy New Year! It’s a brand-new year with new opportunities for renewal, refreshing and reorganizing. And while we work on ourselves, we should also consider extending a hand to the less fortunate.

The Christmas holiday season is a special time of the year for friends and family to reunite and for the rest of Christendom to share the blessings of the season of joy. However, it is also a sad time for those not blessed with sufficient means to care for themselves and their loved ones.

Remember as you celebrate the joyous season that it is also a time when there is a spike in depression and mental illnesses, due in part to the severe stresses of the holiday season. Some people delay treatment to spend time with families and friends, and to complicate matters further, holiday hospital staffing is reduced as health professionals take their leave.

Take a moment to comfort those who have lost a relative or a loved one during the festive season. Others, including our friends in Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent, have been hit by deadly storms, leaving many without power, food and water. Let us also raise a prayer for those souls from Haiti who lost their lives in Turks and Caicos while seeking better lives.

Let us extend our hands to the less fortunate as we enter the new year and give those in need a hand so they too can face 2014 with hope.

The Book of Jeremiah (29:11) assures: “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

While it may be difficult for many to begin a journey in 2014, we should first embrace our faith (the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen) and, second, act on it.

Whether it is in terms of our work, new business ventures, charitable activities or family matters, let us begin the new year resolved to act. You don’t necessarily have to act on the big things, but action on the small things has a huge cumulative impact.

Let our actions be seasoned with love—the kind of love that benefits others at the expense of self, the kind of love that desires to give and not to get. No doubt, therein will lie your blessing.

A bright and prosperous 2014 to you all!