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Posts Tagged ‘#newyears’

Thirty years ago, when dating a charming young man, I was introduced to the film, It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Donna Reed and James Stewart.

I was captivated by the story of George Bailey’s life. A simple, relatable, regular and seemingly boring life, George encounters something he cannot fix or undo (something that was not even his fault, yet, because he was a man of integrity, he took personal responsibility for). It seems there is only one option … to end his life.

For fear of ruining the story for anyone who has not experienced this movie, I will cease my retelling.

In 1992, at a formal function, Queen Elizabeth II referred to that year, for her personally, as an annus horribilis, which is Latin for horrible year. As I have reflected on the past year (for each of the members of my family), I (we) might be inclined to echo the words of Her Majesty.

Then, I was reminded of the ending scene of the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey is standing in his living room, surrounded by family and friends, and the well-wishes of friends that could not be physically present.

It is then that George sees a book … when he opens it up, inscribed on the inside cover is the following:

Those words of Clarence, “remember no man is a failure who has friends” are the words that can turn an annus mirabilis to a annus mirabilis … a wonderful year.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.



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The New Year has just barely begun.

As we get older, we may feel a bit like King Solomon, penning his “everything is meaningless” tirade, as we too know how rare a new year has made anything new in our lives.

We might be entering this new year with:

– the heaviness of battles lost the year before

– the month that stretches further than the money

– the entry level job that has no access to the next level

– the medical results with more questions than answers

– the child who has strayed so far from his purpose

– the marriage of strangers

– disappointment with a quiet, un-intervening God, who you just know

could do something …

but hasn’t,

doesn’t.

You might be lamenting more than resolving, as you get settled into this new year on the calendar.

Jeremiah, certainly knew what it was to lament (Lamentations 3:19-24), as the presumed author of the book of Lamentations. He did not spare a thought, when he cried out to God, for the sorrows in his life.

Maybe you, like Jeremiah, have been crying out to God :

“please, I cannot take anymore …
Just give me a sign that You are still with me …”

Yet, in the midst of his lament, we have words of hope :


“… therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.”

Jeremiah was not speaking from his most recent experience, as his words previously, and following, indicate that he had not awakened to relief from what was agonizing to him in a very long time. His words were born out of commitment, out of trust in a god who saves.

After Jeremiah spoke of God’s mercy, and His faithfulness, he then went on to speak his words of great resolve :

“I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.””

Can we speak such words? Even if it seems that God is silent? Even if it seems that He is not listening to our lament? Can we enter this new year with conviction that “the Lord is my portion”? Or, to rephrase it, the Lord is enough.

Is the Lord enough for you? If He is all there is, is He enough to sustain you?

If we can enter 2015, able to say with our mouth, our mind and our heart, that God is enough, and resolve to live it as true, then maybe we can come to the end of this year with King Solomon’s meaningless tirade, far from our own experience. Maybe we can end 2015 saying there is meaning in life.

And we don’t have to bite the whole year off at once, for His mercies are new every morning.

 

 

 

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We are just a day, just hours really, away from the end of 2014. Whatever our experience of 2014, these final moments of this year seem to bring us to a state of reflection.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I certainly do not entertain this year end reflection with enough seriousness. Perhaps that oft quoted statement “those of us who ignore history, are doomed to repeat it,” ought to be inscribed in our inner eyelids. History, either that of our world, or that of our individual lives, causes us to naturally run away, or re-live it, but, if we reflect on our days, perhaps there might be a third response …

learn from it.

As we sit on the cusp of the change from the past to a new year, the time is right to take a few minutes and reflect.

People

We do not live our lives independent of others, but with our lives intertwined with others around us, whether connected by birth, marriage, jobs, or buying our groceries. As we reflect on those relationships, whether intimate, or more superficial, are there areas which need more attention? Are there too many memories of harsh words spoken? Are there things that have not been spoken, because of fear? Do we come to the end of this year, having said all that needed to be said, having listened to what needed to be heard, and having kept quiet when to be gracious was of more value than to be right? We have all failed the people around us, and they have failed us.

Perhaps if we could live the Golden Rule, to treat others as we would desire they treat us, this coming new year …

Environment

We live, not only with people, but also with a world that we are Biblically (Genesis 1:26-30) responsible to care for. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that there is anything that we mere mortals can do to increase and alter the number of days that the Earth will exist, but I do believe that if God, himself, has given the care of the Earth and everything on it, then we need to do all that we can to care for the soil, the water, the air, and all that grows because of these.

Perhaps if we could treat the things in our lives as the gifts, from God, that they are …

Activities

Our time gets divided up by so many worthwhile, and worthless activities … and there is time and place for both. For some a game of hockey, and for others a game of solitaire are ways of spending a quiet evening. For some volunteering on a church committee, and for others checking in on an elderly neighbor are ways of giving to others. For some giving tax deductible gifts of money, and for others random acts of kindness are ways of sharing what we have. Whatever activities we fill our days with, it would be good to remember the words of Socrates, “beware of the barrenness of a busy life.”

Perhaps if we could treat the time we have as the gifts, from God, that it is …

Creator

Who is the Creator to you, to me? It has been said that to know where your heart is, look to where you spend your money, or your time, or where your thoughts rest. So many of us say that God is number one in our life, but would our wallets, our time spent and our thoughts show that to be true?

Perhaps if we could treat our relationship with our Redeemer, as He has treated us …

Perhaps, as we reflect on the year that is almost completed, as we investigate our actions and attitudes, we could all learn to treat all that has been given to us with an attitude of thanks, of respect and of honor. Perhaps then we would have learned from our mistakes, rather than running from or repeating them.

 

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