Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

December 31, 2011

Celebrating a New Year

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Celebrating  New Year’s Eve has changed for me through the years.  I can remember as a young boy and those early teen years when it was the one night a year that I could stay up until midnight.  We did not have a celebration at home, but our church always had a New Year’s Eve Service.  There were activities and food prior to that stroke of midnight.  We would usually go to the church about 9 p.m. and there would be a fun time until about 11:30 p.m.  Then we got serious.  We would sing hymns, and people would give words of thankfulness for the past year.  The pastor would present a Scriptural thought while everyone was watching the clock!   About one minute to midnight the pastor would begin to pray.  The purpose was to be praying at the hour the new year arrived.  I often wondered if he prayed with one eye opened looking at the clock!

As a teenager, the same privilege was granted me to stay out a little past midnight on New Year’s Eve.  I had transportation and that provided some freedom.  With friends, we would do many different things prior to midnight.  It might be a movie, a fellowship at someone’s home, or just cruising around.  However, until I graduated from high school, my freedom that night ended a few minutes before midnight.  The family rule was that I had to be at the church for those final minutes of the year!

Several churches, where I would be the pastor in later years, had the tradition of the church gathering to celebrate the New Year’s arrival.  Sometimes it included a meal followed by activities for all ages, or a later gathering for refreshments and some fellowship.  Always, however, there would be a worship service about 11:30 p.m.

In these later years, it seems that the New Year arrives without my being aware.  If there was some way to celebrate its arrival before I go to bed, it could be a good plan!  I don’t mean to sound like someone who is a Bah Humbug or someone too old to stay awake until that hour.  I believe my perspective has changed.

I see each new day as a reason to celebrate.  I rejoice over the arrival of each new day  given to me.  Hopefully, there will be enough new days for a whole year, but I will not take anything for granted.  I will choose to complete each day with thankfulness and a hope for the tomorrow. And when I awaken to that new day, I celebrate.

Whether we have a celebration of a new year or a new day, we certainly need to look back.  Some look back and remember some difficulties in their life.  Others remember something special that occurred. Whether it was good or bad, it is past.   We cannot change any of it or relive it.  We must, however, give God thanksgiving for His care over us.  And we must look forward with anticipation of  a tomorrow!  Close the door on yesterday and the past year.  See tomorrow and the tomorrows that follow as something special God is giving to each of us.

Whatever tomorrow or the year may hold, God sees it all.  We are under His watchful eye.  We can face each day with the confidence of His love and care.  Let’s welcome tomorrow with joy because of Him!

” . . .  the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”  (Deuteronomy 11:12)

May you have a happy and blessed New Year!

Lawson

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