I just read this yesterday morning and thought it one of the best hymns (if not the best) I’ve seen for a new year.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 in the shining 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. - Frances Havergal
The celebration surrounding the arrival of the new year is one which interests me a little more each year. Perhaps it’s that I’m growing older. Perhaps it’s that I pay closer attention to the news. Perhaps more people talk about it than in times past. Whatever the case, signs of it seem to figure more prominently in my consciousness than in previous years.
It’s a rather interesting phenomenon to observe. Here, for one night out of the year, millions (billions?) of people converge on public places, whether in person or through technological proximity, and wait in hardly suppressed excitement to see the clock strike twelve, the crystal globe fall, the party begin, and the new year arrive. Why? Why all the “Happy New Years,’” the resolutions, the high anticipation of peace, harmony, and love for all mankind? Why the poo-pooing of all the misdeeds of the previous year, thinking this year will be different, better, more fulfilled, happier, and the best one we’ve seen yet? Do we really believe our own wishes will come true?
Were one to look at all this from a strictly human point of view, I think we would have to give up in despair. After all, what did 2011 bring us? Well, we had the Arab Spring, with violent protests leading in some cases to prolonged civil war. Then, we had the Japanese tsunami with around 20,000 killed. Then, of course we had the Occupy Wall Street protests and continued economic woes across much of the Western world. Several famous (infamous?) people died or were killed, including Osama Bin Laden, Colonel Gaddafi, and Kim Jong-il. And this is only a small portion of all the rather unsettling news we were given from January to December.
The contrast between the hope of a new year and the often far more austere reality it actually brings is one worth noting. As humans, we want hope. We want things to be better. We want to have full bank accounts and happy marriages and fulfilling friendships and no worries about bombs going off somewhere or people starving to death or the ocean suddenly rising up and swallowing our whole livelihood. The past and its turmoil makes us afraid, so we close our eyes, countdown to midnight, and hope for a better future.
For those of us who would call ourselves Christians, this time of year ought to be one where the power of Gospel of Jesus Christ is demonstrated all the more poignantly. After all, didn’t we just celebrate Christmas, God dwelling with us, peace and goodwill to all men? Could there ever be more hope than that? The Prince of Peace, who created all that exists, has entered into His own creation to announce His kingdom and be a “Light of revelation to the Gentiles” and the glory of His own people, Israel (Luke 2:32). Such a message tells us that God is near. And if God is near, than there is hope; hope in our present situation and hope for an eternity with God Himself.
Such hope does away with all our pattering about “Happy New Years.” It does away with our ill-founded hopes in the ability of man to better himself. It does away with our trust in our own economic prowess or our relational capabilities. It shows us that we know nothing. It is at once terrifying and comforting, for it is God Himself who reveals His immensity in the person of a little baby in a messy barn.
God is near – are we ready to meet Him? He is and always was our only hope for a new year.
And for New Years:Eternal Father, who didst give to Thine incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we beseech Thee, the love of Him who is the Savior of the world, even our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in Glory everlasting. Amen.
This is a pretty interesting report, especially the stuff about where the readers came from. If you read this, where are you from?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.
So here we are – at the end of 2011. Can you believe it? So many things have happened this year which seem quite unbelievable. Praise the Lord that we don’t know the future – if we did, I don’t think we would be able to live. We would probably cower in fear. But, God gives grace to each situation as it requires and thus He leads us into some unbelievable situations.
The hymn below is so well known that I probably needn’t even repeat it here. However, it has been one which has been extremely meaningful to me this year. First, for my cousin’s funeral in November. Second, for the wedding of some friends just this last week. They were the same words, only sung at different times. Once they were sung in sorrow. Once they were sung in joy. Both times their truth remained the same. All we have needed He still doth provide. All we need not He taketh away. Great is His faithfulness.Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be. Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided; Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! - Thomas Chisolm