The coming of a new year
Another year slips away. At midnight tonight, it will be gone. The year 2017 was a slippery one. At least it seemed that way to me. Did the year kind of get away from you, too? No sense trying to run after it. We can’t. All we can do now is wave goodbye. Here comes 2018. Are we ready?
People love to take inventory of the year that leaves and keep score of what they liked or hated about it. Again I ask, what for? It’s gone. It’s over.
Was it a good year? My 2017 had its moments. But the highs far outshone the lows. And I am immensely grateful.
There’s an urge to review the events as this year ends. My friend turns both his thumbs down. “It was a disaster, for the world in general and for our country, too.”
Others may disagree. But they will admit that it was a year marked with dissent and division. Here at home and in the United States, bitter resentments that spilled over from the 2016 elections have not healed. Some have grown deeper and may be irreparable. I know of families that are still feuding.
Deep fissures caused by political squabbles and heartless bashing were further aggravated by a barrage of fake news.
Can anyone tell the difference anymore?
In the US, the booing and hissing have not abated. There are similar noises here at home.
Leaders flexing their muscles and flaunting power have alarmed the entire planet. We live in fear.
What will it take to make people seek peace and decide that we can work it all out? Together.
I remember a little poem I read when my children were very young. I don’t know who wrote it. But it seems timely to share it now.
All have a share in the beauty
All have a part in the plan.
What does it matter what duty
Falls to the lot of man.
Someone has blended the plaster,
Someone has carried the stone.
Neither the man nor the master
Ever has built it alone.
Making a roof from the weather
Or building a house for a king
Only by working together,
Have men accomplished a thing.
Why do we make so much of the coming of a new year? I guess it’s because we want to think of it as brand spanking new, straight out of the package, no dents, untouched, untarnished and all ours. And truly, this is how it is offered. What we do with it is another story.
Still many will shrug their shoulders. The jaded and disillusioned will say, no biggie; it will be the same old thing, no surprises, nothing new.
I don’t know about you. But I have always looked forward with optimism to the New Year, believing that it will be better, brighter and happier.
Neither age nor circumstance has changed that at all. Of course, I would like to start each year like a magic slate. Do they still sell those? You write on it, and then lift the plastic cover, and everything disappears.
Unfortunately life is not as simple as that. There are consequences to all the writing and drawing we do on our slate. But we must leave all that behind, and not carry their dead weight into our future.
In the words of writer Paulo Coelho: “Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.”
Leave the poison behind. Let it be swept away with the useless debris of the old year, or consumed by the very fire that wants to keep it alive.
American author Peggy Toney Horton has wise words for us:
“Each New Year, we have before us a brand-new book containing 365 blank pages. Let us fill them with all the forgotten things from last year—the words we forgot to say, the love we forgot to show and the charity we forgot to offer.”
As I write this, I realize I have a bit of a Christmas hangover. The fevered frenzy of getting every present wrapped and tagged, ornaments strung and hung, and six-course lunch served and demolished can be overwhelming. But I am getting better at “detach and disconnect,” and finally managed to get into the spirit of the festivities.
In Church, the pastor preached on a line from “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” that says, “God and sinners reconciled.” He took it a step closer to home, and spoke about you and me, about reconciling, and about taking the first step to mend a broken relationship, never mind who is at fault.
Think about it. Who comes to mind?
Is it about pride? Can we forgive?
Tonight I celebrate with family. My champagne days are over. Sparkling soda and 12 grapes will have to do.
At the stroke of midnight, I will sing about Auld Lang Syne and that cup of kindness. I will imagine myself in a conga line. After all, I do my best dancing sitting down. Today I am happy to be a mere spectator, and no longer the belle of the ball.
And when all hell is breaking loose, and everybody is rowdy and drinking toasts to the New Year, I will look up, far beyond the fireworks and give praise and thanks to that awesome Hound of Heaven who never slackens in His relentless pursuit. He never gives up. And He calls me by my name.
Happy New Year!
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