Thursday, November 20, 2014
For most of us the past is a mixed bag, a blend of both blessing and regret, pleasure and pain. At Thanksgiving we give thanks for the good things we have been given, but we might do well to make a second list alongside of our blessings. What about the old hurts, the deep regrets, the episodes of our lives that we would give anything to be able to do over again, knowing what we know today? Bad choices, dumb moves, thoughtless words. We beat ourselves up for such things and yet we are too often blind to the way our past is poisoning our present.
Maybe the best part of Thanksgiving is not the tallying of our total accumulated blessings. Maybe the real joy comes in finding grace and release from the broken pieces of our past, to be set free from those haunting hurts of yesterday. And to see how some Sovereign Someone has brought you through it all, the good and bad, the joy and the tears, to this new day - today - is to be blessed indeed.
So, our New Years can sink from optimism to pessimism faster than the ball drops, like an express elevator to the basement. Too many of us wring our hands over the days ahead, living with a low grade, ever present anxiety based on fear, not faith.
Maybe the best part of New Year's Day is not football or our feeble efforts to reform ourselves. Maybe the real joy is found in our confident hope that though the unknown future is in God's hands, so are we. Try as we may, you and I cannot control what lies ahead, and that's actually good news, since we are not up to the job anyway. It is enough for little people like us to be faithful and to follow, to take His hand and walk into the great unknown without fear.
As our Celtic forebearers prayed:
God before me, God behind me,
God above me, God below me;
I on the path of God,
God upon my track.
Sweet release from yesterday. Confident hope for tomorrow. Faithful companionship today. Now, we can join the party.