Is there anything as over as Christmas? Colorful wrapping
paper and bright ribbons are reduced to trash as quickly as gifts are torn
open. Fresh green trees that have graced many of our homes for weeks begin to
drop needles until they are discarded on streets, waiting collection. Even
artificial trees are stored in plastic containers the size of coffins.
Decorations are packed away in the basement, the attic, or the garage until
Christmas is over! In the week following Christmas, we may become preoccupied with returning and exchanging gifts, cleaning house, and paying bills. No wonder the days after Christmas mark a mood swing. The season to be jolly often dissolves into a time of exhaustion and for some a wintery despair. The post-Christmas season can also be a time of blessed relief. I felt that relief yesterday when I received a motorcycle travel magazine in the mail and actually had some moments to look through it and dream about a new adventure or so.
The days between Christmas and New Year’s Day give us time for reflection on the year past and the year ahead. Opening a new calendar (I received several as gifts) can be an opportunity for a new beginning. It can feel like a fresh canvas full of un-lived adventure or “seize the day moments” (Carpe Diem). Getting that new calendar can also be another reminder of how God in his grace saw us through the difficulties of the year past—but here we go again—with a new year before us! Yippee, Yippee, Yeah!
I personally and regrettably put on some weight over Holidays that I had lost over the summer and fall. Someone has said, “People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.” That’s a profound thought but not easily lived. Henry Ward Beecher said, “Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.” Those seem like some good ideals and words of advice to start our New Year.
As you know I am a poetry lover at heart— I offer the gift of this great poem by Francis Havergal as we focus on beginning another New Year. Timeless words…Timeless Meaning!
“Another year is dawning; dear Father let it be,
In working or in waiting, another year with thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving thy presence all the days.
Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness, the glory of thy face.
Another year of leaning upon thy loving breast,
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.
Another year of service, of witness for thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be,
On earth, or else in heaven, another year for thee.”
Yours, Pastor Robert