New Year’s Eve was always a very big deal in my house growing up. We gathered together with our best friend’s family, who had boys about my age, alternating houses. We would eat and play and watch movies and do everything we could to stay up until midnight (with sleeping bags waiting in the wings, just in case). And when the clock struck twelve, we would gather to sing that classic tune, for auld lang syne.
Even as a child I understood what it meant – days gone by. We’ll raise our glass as the year leaves us, as the old Scottish poem suggests. Young as I was, we had already lost relatives within our close ring of family and I understood that we were not just referring to traditions that were being handed down, but also people’s legacies.
There is this funny sense to January, which was named for a two-faced Roman trickster god. Especially as we enter into 2022, many of us want to walk into this new year with our arms raised in surrender and not make any declarations that might jinx us prematurely. After the last two years, we don’t want anything pulling out the rug from under us… yet again.
However, we are not followers of the ancient pantheons of long, long ago. And though we may have our momentary superstitions, we do, in fact, know who holds our future. While we may not yet see where the path may lead or what the precise ending is, the honest truth is that it does not matter. For ours is a God of journeys, far more than destinations – at least in this life, it would seem.
2022 is a new chapter in our journey together. Some parts may look much the same as the last chapter. Yet, I cannot imagine that our God would leave us treading water much longer. Lent is just around the corner and the Empty Tomb beyond. And we do know how our God loves a good cliff-hanger.
Now, it is true that I cannot make a promise that everything will be perfectly returned to how it was before the world fell apart nearly two years ago. Largely because there is no way to go back.
What I can promise is that it will all be okay again. We are just not quite sure what okay will look like. But I do know that it involves every single one of you. Of us. Together. God’s family in this time and place.
So raise a glass and bless the old year on its way. Give thanks for all the times that have gone by. The people who have made us who we are. And then, well then, let us bless God for all that we have and give thanks for all those who are in our midst here and now, as we take our next steps on the road ahead.
Blessings, Pastor Janie