So the years turn another page. Tomorrow it will be 2012. In essence it will be no different today. Just another date, the turning of one more second, the chiming of 12 bongs of Big Ben.
But it is all just a number. An artificial construct. For in some places in the world it is already 2012, and others will follow. Like waking up on the day of your birthday, you feel no different to when you went to bed the night before, it’s just another day.
There can be the feeling of a new page, a new chapter, new possibilities – or there may the same old feelings of despair, longing and ‘same old same old’.
We may wonder what this new year may bring, or we may be horribly aware of what it will entail. We may have something lovely to look forward to, or know that nothing will have changed, or something is looming that we wish wasn’t. Whatever it is, good, bad or indifferent, we do not face it alone. We can walk, with our hand firmly in God’s. He accompanies us. And in that we can walk in hope.
The strength and the courage to face the new year are summed up in this famous poem by Marie Louise Haskins (1876 – 1957)
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So, I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night
And He led me toward the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So, heart, be still!
What need our little life,
Our human life, to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low
God hideth His intention.
Whether it is darkness we feel we are stepping into, or glorious light, we do not walk alone, we walk with God. He is beside us all the way, holding us. Things will not change miraculously overnight just because the date is different, but the God who has travelled with us this far still holds us tight.
whatever I am walking into,
may I feel your presence.
Thank you that you hold on to me tightly.
For the things I am dreading,
into the things that are exciting,
in the things I am wondering about,
for the things I am worrying about,
for the things I hope for,
and the things I cannot imagine
– thank you that I do not walk alone,
holding your hand