We’re counting down the hours, minutes, seconds. We keep wishing each other happiness as the time gets closer and closer. And yet it sometimes feels like just another wishful thought.
I learned a new word today from God Is In The Manger,
“Acedia may be an unfamiliar term to those not well versed in monastic history or medieval literature…I believe that such standard dictionary definitions of acedia as “apathy,” “boredom,” or “torpor” do not begin to cover it, and while we may find it convenient to regard it as a more primitive word for what we no term depression, the truth is much more complex…. I think it is likely that most of the restless boredom, frantic escapism, commitment phobia, and enervating despair that plagues us today is the ancient demon of acedia in modern dress,” (by Kathleen Norris, Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life).
This seems an apt description of the Eeyore perspective that so many adopt. They carry their rain cloud around life with them, never looking up. It is so easy to fall into this mindset, even if the sun is brilliantly shining. The hope of a year that is different, that is characterized by happiness, can seem like cotton-candy dreams that melt in life’s drizzle.
Psalm 147 shouts out a different perspective:
“Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the humble;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
19 He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the Lord!”
Take a moment to be breathless. God knows the stars, every finite point of light that is light years away from our telescopes. And He reaches into our lives. He knows us, too.
So maybe life is full of rain clouds and hail and snow. But God is in control, He has stepped into our lives, and He is acting for our good. So we can wish people with confidence to have a “Happy New Year!”
God, I am sorry for holding onto rain clouds. Sometimes the sun seems too bright and I just want the damp chill of gloomy thoughts. It is so silly. Thank You for dying for each of my sins. You knew them like You know the names of the stars. And while sin still dampens life, You offer the hope of Your presence through the worst downpour. It’s a new year in just a few hours, God. New possibilities, opportunities, responsibilities. I give it to You. Please help me to act for Your glory, praising You in sunshine and clouds, and confident that You are acting to bring beauty through all of it. Happy New Year! Amen.