I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for all of the year-end festivities. Yes, I watch Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People of the Year” with great excitement. I also enjoy reading and watching every “Best Of” collection I can find – you know, the sort of mish-mash collection of remembrances of the previous year and predictions for the year ahead that floods the Internet every December.
New Year’s is just a wonderfully nostalgic time of the year.
There’s a scene in the movie Forrest Gump where Forrest and Lt. Dan are in a bar celebrating on New Year’s Eve watching the ball drop at midnight. One of the ladies with them looks at Forrest and says, “Don’t you just love New Years, it’s like you can just start all over and everyone gets a second chance.”
So what is your “second chance” in the coming year?
Maybe 2012 was a year you’re hoping to forget. My grandmother used to say that if we knew what the coming year had in store, we’d never get out of the bed on New Year’s Day. Maybe this past year was a year marked by struggle or hardship? Maybe it was a year marked by hurt and heartache? Life has a way that when it starts raining it begins to pour before we can even reach for our umbrella. So maybe you’re reading this column in the hopes that 2012 will soon be a distant memory and you can have a second chance in 2013?
I think we need a second chance as a society. 2012 was a year marked by ill-will, anxiety, and down right hatred. Presidential politics has a way of bringing out the absolute worst in us, but I think this election cycle was especially bad. We thrived on conflict fueled by the disinformation of mass media, pundits, and non-stop political commercials. The election is over and we have a government in place until the next cycle. Lord knows we need 2013 to be a year of reconciliation and peace – and that begins with each of us, not politicians.
Maybe 2012 was an amazing year? Maybe it was a year you’re hoping to repeat in 2013? Maybe you had a major life event that made 2012 a year you’ll never forget? Sometimes it’s good to take a few moments in the lull that follows Christmas just to reflect on the previous year. It’s a good and holy thing to sit and remember and be thankful. So I hope you’ll find a moment or two just for that – especially if 2012 was a year marked by joy.
Or maybe 2012 was just another year – nothing too good and nothing too bad? Maybe you’re so caught up in the routine of life you can’t even remember the major events of the year. It’s hard to stop and be thankful when life is moving full-steam ahead. But I do hope you’ll take just a moment to consider the grace that’s found in the seemingly boring and routine parts of life.
The ancient story is told that some disciples were sitting around questioning their elder hoping to gain some insight into the meaning of life.
“Where shall I find God in life?” the disciples ask the elder.
“God is with you everywhere,” the wise elder replied.
“But if that is true,” the disciples asked, “Why can I not see this presence of God?”
“Because,” said the elder, “you are like the fish who, when in the ocean, never notice the water.”
No matter what your 2012 was made up of – good, bad, or in-between – I hope you’ll remember that the God who was with you over the previous year has been with you since the very beginning of your life. And that same God is with you today and will be with you in the days ahead, no matter what. Thanks be to God and Happy New Year!
[This column originally appeared in the Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013 issue of Macon Magazine]