Are you still rejoicing over Christmas or rejoicing that Christmas is over? Post Christmas blues and end of year blahs can spoil blessings intended to lift you higher than you’ve ever been lifted before. Amidst your long list of post holiday chores, take time to do something you enjoy. Spend time reflecting on the past year with thanksgiving for things that blessed and seeking forgiveness for things - you did or didn’t do — that bother you. End this year with thanksgiving and closure to a chapter of your life that cannot be changed. Anticipate the New Year as a chapter waiting to be written. Seek God with humility and honor, asking for guidance in 2013 and giving glory to Him for all things. Make Him the main character of your book, with every chapter (season – year) full of believing, obeying, rejoicing, loving, and enjoying the life you’re living (writing)! Continually carve out a little ‘me time’ from busy schedules that can bewilder and burden instead of bless and boost. Take time to reflect and rejoice, pray and praise God for another year and a good life.
My ‘me time’ is heavenly when I’m reading and writing. This week, I settled in front of the gas logs with a soft blanket and pulled an old hymn book from my book shelf. Reading song lyrics and wondering what touched the authors to write those words is intriguing. Life experiences and stirrings in my heart inspire the stories I write. In my hymnal, I read and sang lyrics from seasonal songs with messages that seemed perfect for an ‘end of the year’ story.
Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart came from a Psalm that encourages us to sing and rejoice, even the week after Christmas or during times when sadness and sorrow color our world. Psalm 32:11 “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing” is the scripture Mr. Plumptre used to write these words: With all the angel choirs, with all the saints on earth, Pour out the strains of joy and bliss, True rapture, no blest mirth. Yes, on through life’s long path, Still chanting as we go, From youth to age, by night and day, In gladness and in woe. Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice, give thanks and sing.
Another song was a reminder to Count Your Blessings. Mr. Oatman’s text came from Psalm 40:5 “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.” When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Both messages share words to learn and live by in all seasons of our lives. Many people reading this reflect on a year that was filled with sorrow, sickness, or situations that turned your gladness to sadness, leaving you discouraged and thinking all is lost. Others read this with tender hearts, rejoicing and praising God for what He has done. Whether our year was a heartache or hallelujah, we should keep our eyes on Jesus, count our blessings, and thank God for what He has done. His unconditional love will lift us higher than we’ve ever been lifted before, even when broken hearts and shattered dreams seem to prevail. It’s our choice to believe and rejoice or give up and live in despair. The season of Christmas is never ending when Jesus lives in our hearts. The joy of living for Jesus is a daily blessing that keeps on giving here and in heaven.
Closing my hymnal, an appropriate song title caught my eye, “Another Year Is Dawning”. As you read these words, may they touch your heart with wisdom and bless your New Year with joy, peace, prosperity, and closeness to the Lord and loved ones, while reminding us to be thankful for each moment, hour, day, and especially another year. The text of the hymn comes from Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Another year is dawning: Dear Father, let it be, In working or in waiting, Another year with Thee; Another year of progress, Another year of praise, Another year of proving Thy presence all the days. Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace; Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face. Another year of learning upon Thy loving breast; Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest. Another year of service, of witness for Thy love; Another year of training for holier work above, Another year is dawning: Dear Father, let it be, on earth or else in heaven, Another year for Thee. Amen.
Let us rejoice as one year ends and a new one begins. Another year is dawning. As we celebrate, let us dedicate our lives to living a year for Thee. Then, we will live in peace and happiness… in heaven or here.