Bringing in the New Year a little early

Published 5:19 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tell the truth. How many of you can actually stay up until midnight, December 31st, and bring in the New Year at the precise moment? Not me, unless, of course they change the schedule of bringing in the New Year to, oh say, about 9:30.

But wait! There is help for us old people who go to bed pretty soon after the sun goes down. The company Netflix, a California internet company that can arrange for you to see just about anything at any time, has created a short video aimed at fooling kids who want to stay up.

Parents who want their kids to get the excitement of bringing in the New Year, but don’t want them staying up too late, can gather the kids and turn on this video. A popular animated character by the name of King Julien (so popular that I have never heard of him), leads other animated characters in a “countdown” to 2015 that can be played much earlier than the real time of midnight.

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I think kids are a little more sophisticated these days and won’t be fooled by King Julien, but it’s a good thought. The kids go to bed early, but the next day tell their friends, “Yeah, we brought in the New Year right on time!”

Bringing in the New Year always offers the opportunity to do two things. It gives us a symbolic new start. You’ve heard all the clichéd ways we describe that new start. We turn over a new leaf, we begin a new chapter, or we are presented with a clean sheet of paper on which we may write a new and better story for ourselves.

I hope that all of us will seize the opportunity to make the New Year better than the old one. I’ve got my mustard/turnip greens and black-eyed peas ready to go and I intend to prepare them to taste better than any have ever tasted.

Looking forward is an appropriate attitude for this week. In the Scriptures, we are encouraged to let the past go, get rid of the old so that we may “fix our eyes upon Jesus.” I believe that advice from Hebrews is fitting for a new year or a new day as often as it comes.

At the same time, it is natural for us to look back. We can acknowledge the losses and appreciate the gains that may have come our way in the passing year. There’s always both during a year and the losses are sometimes difficult to absorb, while the gains may be easy to overlook. My family is like all. We have our losses and we have our gains.

As a pastor of churches and a member of a blessed family, I am privileged to enjoy the births of children and the marriages of couples. There are birthdays and anniversaries to celebrate.

There are also those funerals that come naturally and, unfortunately, not so naturally. In some weeks, there are both.

There is one more thing that is constant. In the joys of a year and in the sadness of a year, there is God: ready, willing, and able to be perfectly a part of both.

For good measure, here is popular Bible verse for 2015, for your joy and sadness. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.” I hope 2015 is your best!