Once more the world rolls on into a new year. Perhaps “reels” would be the more appropriate word. Battered by wars and rumors of wars, catastrophes, natural disasters, man’s inhumanity to man, it is hard to say “Happy New Year” with any honest expectation that this year will be any different from the last. It would be so easy to slip into cynicism, to mourn with the Preacher of Ecclesiastes, “A generation comes and a generation goes, but the earth remains forever… what has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
And yet, only last month millions of us were singing fervently, “For lo, the days are hastening on/ By prophetbards foretold/ When with the ever-circling years/ Comes round the age of gold.” The first song is that of a weary old man, a man that has had everything, seen everything, done everything, only to find in the end that it all adds up to vanity -- dust and ashes, not worth a person’s effort. But age does not make the difference. Many of us who raised the song of hope are old and weary, have known sorrow and loss and frustration and failure. And yet we sang as strongly as the young whose dreams are still intact.
The difference lies in a happening. Between the worldweary Solomon on his throne and the hopeful carolers of today, there has been something new under the sun -- Christmas! God the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The light of the Christmas candles shines into the future before us and gives us courage to take the first step into the unknown. Slowly, slowly, little by little, our ever-circling years become a spiral, lifting us to the Kingdom of Heaven. Sometimes we falter in discouragement, sometimes we slip and fall, sometimes we know despair. But every year the promise is renewed, and we are reminded, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Happy New Year!
Interim Pastor Dan Congleton