New Years Thoughts 2014/2015

This is a random collection of thoughts on the theme of the New Year, some more profound than others.

  • The Old Year ends, and the New Year starts, whether I stay up till midnight or not, whether I drink champagne at midnight or not, whether I have seen the fireworks or not, whether I have heard the “Pummerin” (the large bell of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna) ringing in the New Year or not.
  • We spent yesterday evening with our daughter and her family. As we were driving home shortly after midnight fireworks were going off all around us. The ones with visual effects are certainly spectacular and nice to look at, but I do not understand the perverse impulse that compels so many people to celebrate the end of one peaceful year and the hope for another by simulating the sounds of war, with fireworks whose only purpose is to make lound explosive noises. This struck me first a few years ago when the Balkan wars brought the reality of war geographically close to those of us born after WWII here in central Europe, and it still distresses me every year, with wars and campaigns of terror going on in so many places in the world.
  • I liked this fragment of a poem posted by one of my Facebook friends, Ian Paul:

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 towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

The fragment, commonly known as “The Gate of the Year“, is the beginning of a poem called “God Knows” by Minnie Louise Haskins. The poem bekame famous when the then–Princess Elizabeth handed a copy to her father, King George VI, and he quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire. The full text can be found at Wikipedia where I also gleaned this information.

In the comment thread to Ian’s post, one of his friends, Tabitha Smith, posted a prayer taken from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers:

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me
——except the days are passed in thy presence,
————in thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follow, guides,
————sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
——that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
——but may rely on thy Spirit
————to supply every thought,
————speak in every word,
————direct every step,
————prosper every work,
————build up every more of faith,
————and give me a desire
——————to show forth thy praise;
——————testify thy love,
——————advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters
——of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
with thee, O Son, at my helm,
with thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
——my lamp burning,
——my ear open to thy calls,
——my heart full of love,
——my soul free.

Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
——thy comforts to cheer,
——thy wisdom to teach,
——thy right hand to guide,
——thy counsel to instruct,
——thy law to judge,
——thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
——thy triumphs my joy.

Both of these pieces present thoughts and desires which I would not yet claim to have attained to, but to which I aspire, and it seems good to put them at the beginning of this new year.

  • Here are a few pictures which friends of mine posted, and which seem worth keeping:

Who wants change? Who wants to change? (from 9GAG via David Ezzine)

Who-wants-change

 

And this one goes well with that: (fromLe Monde d’Avenir via Lolke van der Veen):

10363509_848408195220327_8060296020229169340_n It’s no 2014 that should havve been different …
nor is it  2015 which will need to be different …
No, its YOU who has to change!

New Year’s Resolutions (from Ansa Du Toit Fourie via Marie-Louise Weissenböck)

new-years-resolutions

This is not specific to the New Year, but it’s very good advice which I should heed (from Dydy Dydy, via Jean-Daniel Helmlinger):

Ignore those who talk behind your back, for that is exactly where they belong:

Behind you, while you continue to forge ahead.

talk-behind-back

 

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