The early morning hours of New Year's Day 2008 in our home.
During Advent and the Christmas season, I love all of the traditional Christmas music that is played this time of year, both on the local “Christmas” radio station and from our own collection at home. The Twelve Days of Christmas ends on January 6th, which is Epiphany or Three King’s Day – the traditional day that marks the arrival of the three Wise Men, or Magi, bringing gifts from afar for the Christ Child – “revealing” Jesus to the world as Lord and King.
The season of Christmas has dual meanings for many, as traditional secular holidays and religious days of observance overlap during the same time frame. Other faiths and traditions also observe this time of the year in special ways as well. While some celebrate in either a secular or religious way, many of us celebrate by respecting both the secular and the religious during the same season. For me, Santa Claus is very real indeed, and I truly believe that anyone can be Santa Claus – on any given day of the year; by giving unexpected gifts that meet someone’s very real need – at the time of that need.
This is a season of celebration, prayer, sentiment, memories and New Year’s Resolutions. Besides traditional religious Christmas songs, our favorite CD at home is Amy Grant’s “The Christmas Collection;” which has our favorite Christmas song, “Tennessee Christmas” – which is originally from her album, “A Christmas Album.” “Tennessee Christmas” has been our favorite modern Christmas song ever since we first listened to it. Other sentimental favorites of mine are: Amy Grant’s version of “Grown-Up Christmas List;” Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne;” Kenny Logins’ “Celebrate Me Home;” Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “I Believe in Father Christmas;” John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over);” Faith Hill’s “Where Are You Christmas;” Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas;” Josh Groban’s “I’ll Be Home For Christmas;” Mariah Cary’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You;” and Straight No Chaser’s a cappella “The 12 Days Of Christmas.”
In the middle of The Twelve Days of Christmas, is the celebration of New Year’s Eve; where we reflect on years past and the New Year now just beginning. As we get older we pause to consider on New Year’s Eve all that we’ve been through, what could have been but never was… and the future yet to be. People sing “Auld Lang Syne” – for old times sake – written by Robert Burns in 1788 (courtesy of Wikipedia): “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.” As I ponder this past year, I reflect back to January 29, 2009; when I started this blog with my first post, “Welcome To My World!” Little did I know or guess how far I would have come by this time, or imagine how much joy I could get from sharing the events of my life with all of you. The internet is an amazing invention, and the ability to connect with people around the planet simply defies logic – but it happens every day around the world. If but one person decides to live the life of their dreams based on reading this account of mine – then everything I’ve posted here will have been well worth the effort.
A few years ago by brother suggested to me that I should write a book based on all that I’ve done. My immediate response was that someone can do that posthumously when I’m gone. As I pondered that thought over time, I realized that despite having started my autobiography, “In Search of the Meaning of Life” back in 1994 – that even my immediate family wouldn’t be able to piece together all of the events and interests of my life after I’m gone. So when this opportunity to start a blog was suggested to me, it became the ideal conduit to organize my life for my family, as well as for anyone else that is interested. Now as I approach the New Year, I ponder what is in store for our family, this blog and the greater world around us in 2010; and think about how my upcoming New Year’s Resolution can integrate all three in a positive and unified way. Because in the end, our lives aren’t about being rich, successful or famous according to the world’s standards; but it’s God’s standards that we should aspire to instead. Here is a quote from St. Augustine of Hippo, courtesy of WorldofQuotes.com:
“Picture God as saying to you, ‘My son, why is it that day by day you rise, and pray, and genuflect, and even strike the ground with your forehead, nay sometimes even shed tears, while you say to Me: ‘My Father, give me wealth!’ If I were to give it to you, you would think yourself of some importance, you would fancy that you had gained something very great. Because you asked for it, you have it. But take care to make good use of it. Before you had it, you were humble; now that you have begun to be rich you despise the poor. What kind of a good is that which only makes you worse? For worse you are, since you were bad already. And that it would make you worse you knew not; hence you asked it of Me. I gave it to you, and I proved you; you have found — and you have found out! Ask of Me better things than these, greater things than these. Ask of Me spiritual things. Ask of Me Myself!'”
In each of us God has planted a dream which holds a purpose and significance because He has chosen it for us, knowing that it would both agree with our inner nature and also serve Him as part of His greater plan. So in the end it is up to us to understand this dream and passion that we all hold within our very souls…and follow it as far as it takes us – because in following it we are doing God’s greater purpose in the world. We may not understand that purpose or see it revealed in our own lifetimes, but that is not ours to determine – only God’s. So in this Christmas season as we celebrate the revealing of Jesus as Lord and King…and Savior – let us all thank Him for all that He has done for us, and continue to search out His purpose for our lives in order to make the New Year a better one than the year before…for all our sakes. Happy New Year and all the best in 2010 – from our family to yours! 🙂