Monday, December 31, 2018

December 31

“Then he told them a story: "A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren't any. He said to his gardener, 'What's going on here? For three years now I've come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?'
"The gardener said, 'Let's give it another year. I'll dig around it and fertilize, and maybe it will produce next year…"
(Luke 13:6-9 The Message)

There are many sentences ending with a period in a story. Periods are good. A period marks an end and a new beginning. After the ‘period’, you catch your breath. Then there is a new start. All the periods are part of the whole.
Every life is a story. Every New Year's Eve is like a period in this story. The old year, with its joys and sorrows, successes and failures, all belong to the old sentence. We mark the end of the year and take a run at the one to come.
As I write a story, I can consider every separate sentence, and change the words until the sentence’s meaning becomes clearer. In life, I cannot change the past. But I can pray for forgiveness for the wrong I have done to others, and I can forgive and reconcile with those who wronged me. Then I can place a period and let go of the past. My game plan might have changed radically, but I may incorporate lessons, which were learned last year, and start from a new departure point.

Thanks, O God, for boundless mercy
From Thy gracious throne above
Thanks for ev’ry need provided
From the fullness of Thy love
Thanks for daily toil and labour
And for rest when shadows fall
Thanks for love of friend and neighbour
And Thy goodness unto all
Thanks for thorns as well as roses
Thanks for weakness and for health
Thanks for clouds as well as sunshine
Thanks for poverty and wealth!
Thanks for pain as well as pleasure
All Thou sendest day by day
And Thy Word our dearest treasure
Shedding light upon our way
Thanks, O God, for home and fireside
Where we share our daily bread
Thanks for hours of sweet communion
When by Thee our souls are fed!
Thanks for grace in time of sorrow
And for joy and peace in Thee
Thanks for hope today, tomorrow
And for all eternity!
                                      (August Storm, 1891)

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