So, here we are…
New Year’s Day 2012.
10+ hours into a new month and a new year.
With a new calendar to hang on the wall to help us keep track of the passage of days.
And the opportunity to learn a new skill…writing 2012 instead of 2011.
I have to admit I am not a big New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day person.
I have no desire to go to Times Square for New Year’s Eve.
(Though I did enjoy celebrating New Year’s Eve and welcoming in the New Year in White Plains last night!)
I am not big on resolutions or “out with the old and in with the new.”
Yet, today being the day that it is…
And the fact that we are together in this place…
Maybe it is a moment to stop for a moment to consider the times of our lives.
As I get older I better understand the comment my father made to me as he was considering retirement. He said, “At this point in my life time is more valuable than a bit more money.”
While it may not be true for all…
Especially those who struggle each day just to make ends meet…
It probably is true for most, if not all of us.
Time is our most precious commodity.
That being true, then this question…
How do you use…
How do you want to use…
The time that you have?
When I was younger I couldn’t wait to grow up.
Now that I am older (notice I didn’t say grown up!), I drag my feet in a desperate, but futile effort to slow time down.
So, as I thought about this morning…
And about our being here together…
I found myself thinking about how we understand the times of our lives.
First, we should recognize and treat each day as a gift.
Maybe the first thing that we should say when we get up each morning is Thank you. And, to do our best to live with that sense of gratitude as we go through the day.
I have to admit I am not very good at this.
And, maybe you are a bit like me.
Instead of Thank you I often wake up immediately thinking of what I have to do.
Either looking forward to what is on my list or feeling the weight of too many things and not enough time.
And, too often, I allow the unimportant…
The making sure everything is neat and in place and that outward appearances are just so…
To usurp the truly important…
Paying attention to the person in front of me;
Carving out time for those whom I love;
Allowing that which I believe to push its way to the surface of my life and outward to touch another with kindness or hope or compassion.
But maybe today…
First things first.
Each day is a gift.
Begin it by saying Thank you.
A second reflection is this…
Maybe the author of Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger are right.
That there is a time for every purpose under heaven;
Which, in many ways, runs counter to the cultural expectation which surround us:
That all of the time we should always be and should always feel happy and successful and confident.
The Bible is more honest than that.
It knows and names that there are times of joy and times of sadness; that there are times when we mourn and times when we are to dance; that there are times keep and to hold closely and times to let go and to throw away.
And, all of that is okay.
And, how life is.
And, all of it…
All of it…
Remains wrapped up in the providence and grace of God.
Finally, the Biblical witness does its best to remind us that my time and your time partake of the Eternal. Our lives are intertwined with the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end; Our lives a part of God’s making all things new.
Our lives doing their small part to bend that long arc of history in the direction of God’s Kingdom come.
While maybe fleeting in the grand scheme of things, our lives are not futile.
Not just here and gone.
Not just for ourselves alone.
Our lives find purpose and meaning and direction and hope as we open our lives to that which we know and name as God, and those whom God names as our neighbors.
New Year’s Day 2012 and the times of our lives.