11.30 pm Thursday, 31st December 2015.
I would normally be in church but a bout of flue had kept me home. I was watching the world celebrate the dawn of another year. The TV channel carried pictures as 2016 winged its way across the globe. Spectacular fireworks from Sydney Harbour, where residents were among the first to celebrate. Then Tokyo, Taiwan, Beijing, Thailand … the New Year was inching towards home. A news break to report that a fire had broken out in a high rise building in Dubai .. and another report showing the quiet deserted streets of Belgium where public celebrations had been cancelled due to threat of terror attacks.
Five minutes to go … I knocked off the TV and picked up the Bible. It opened to a verse I like .. Proverbs 21.17 – The words of the wise. What a beautiful word to start the year : “incline your ear and hear my words and apply your mind to my teaching.” I read right through to Chapter 23 .. the thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge.
Then I went onto the balcony and that was when I felt it … the unmitigated hopes of the universe; the dreams and aspirations of men. The nonstop drum-roll of crackers bursting like a volley of cannonball fire but more muted, one blending into the other. For a full 15 minutes or so. I recorded it on my phone but the recording does not do justice to the sounds or the feelings they expressed.
The world ushers in a New Year with such anticipation – whether it is in Sydney, Singapore or Sri Lanka. What is man that he expects things to be slightly different, just a little bit better with the turn of a page onto a New Year. Thousands and thousands and thousands of Rupees/Dollars/Sterling expended to see the New Year in with a bang and a hope that the bang of joy will continue for another 365 days – and the New Year will be better than the last.
Strangely, I felt that man seems so lost, so alone and yet so full of hope for the future. I wondered … God are you looking down ? Can you see the fireworks, the expectations with which people are ushering in the year? Can you see their dreams? their hopes for happiness ? How do You view this .. we seem so puny with these dreams of a better life?
I got to thinking … how would we usher in a life of eternity … the life we would have to embrace the moment of our death. Would it be with the same bang and expectations and celebrations ? Shouldn’t we give some thought to that .. the most defining and all important moment of our lives?
As you inch towards that day, whenever it may be, may you find the joy, the peace, the happiness, and the contentment that you seek in the New Year. May all your expectations be filled to overflowing.
My wish to all of you ..“.. May the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.“