Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Wishes

18 Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
19 I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
--Isaiah 43:18-19

It's New Year's Eve. Lots of people are out partying. Some are playing or watching football. I am, as has been the case of most of my 31 years, sitting at home, probably going to doze off before midnight, and possibly going to drink some hot chocolate. It's not the most exciting New Year's Eve tradition. But then, I don't claim to be the most exciting of people. It's good for reflecting, though, and thinking about the passage of time.

So, I don't know what you might be wishing for in the new year. I have a few things I'd like to take care of--some things I didn't get done in 2010, and some new things I want to try in a new year.

I'm thinking about change, about how we all face change in a new year, no matter what. How difficult is it to change what year we write on our checks (for those of us who still write checks)?! I've just never liked change. Even now, as I type, I'm also listening online to Love 89, a local Christian radio station, which is switching over to nationally-syndicated Air 1 Radio at midnight tonight. I'm savoring the last few hours of the familiar station identifications that even say, "Welcome Home," and the voices I'm used to, even though all that's left is pre-recorded; all the personalities signed off together at 6:00 p.m. tonight. It's a sad, sad thing, to me. And yet, that's what New Year's Eve is all about, in a way. No other time of year, in our culture at least, is so full of nostalgia and promise, so likely to keep us on the brink of tears for what has been and also breathless for what is to be. As I think about it, though, in these moments of tension, of promise and regret, of all that was and all that might be, these are the times we should know most that God is with us. It's not just that we celebrated Christmas Eve only a week ago, that we rejoiced with shepherds and angels about a baby boy that was born. No, what is going on for us right now should be where we are always--right in the middle of being amazed at where we've been and being ready to see what happens next. God is walking with us, whether we can sense God there, or not. On New Year's Eve, when so much is possible, when we look at another year and wonder, what's certain is God. And that will just have to be good enough, I guess. As a United Methodist pastor, I never know where I might be from one year to the next, but what's certain is God. And for that, on this New Year's Eve, even as I say goodbye to Love 89, look ahead to a year of uncertainty--and hope--and wait, I am thankful.

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