The last days of December slowly unwind in the hills, wrapping up the old year in a package of sunshine and brilliant blue skies. For the last few days, the weatherman has called for snow flurries, and although the air is frigid, the sun continues to shine. Battered and limping, with a year's burden of unfulfilled hopes and dreams on his back, he is clearing the stage for the brand new year to make his debut. I have always wondered why the New Year didn't begin with the coming of spring, when all living things are bursting with life and the whole world is rejoicing in newness.
In the dead of winter, the New Year begins. "The dead of winter" sounds like a laughable phrase this year. So far, our weather has seemed like an extended fall or an extra early spring. I have a feeling that Old Man Winter is not through with us yet. Many folk experience a holiday letdown after the merriment and festivities of the Christmas season is over. The "spirit" they have worked up seems to die as soon as the glittering lights are extinguished. I am thankful there is a true Spirit that can dwell with us all the year long, and does not depend upon a particular season.
Our holiday season is celebrated with the gathering of family and friends, as we congregate in warm love and fellowship. There is much rejoicing in our family this season, as we thank God for bringing our son Matthew "through the valley of the shadow of death," and restoring him to health again. We are grateful also for the recovery that my mother is making after the bad break to her hip and leg.
Mom just celebrated her 87th birthday last week with a huge family dinner. She has six children (Mark is deceased) 26 grandchildren, 61 great-grandchildren, and five great great grandchildren. Nearly all of them were there to pay honor to a wonderful mother and a great lady. We are thankful that God has allowed us to keep her thus far. The wheels of time have rolled a complete circle once more, and our roles are reversed. Where her capable hands once bathed and dressed me, I am now bathing and dressing her. When I tuck her in bed and cover her, I think of the times that she placed me in bed and made sure that I was secure for the night. I kiss her goodnight and say, "Good night, Beautiful Queen," and she replies, "Good night, Sweet Princess." I feel that God has allowed me a special honor in being able to care for my mother.
The old year is almost over, and will soon be history. It has been a tragic year for America as a nation, and yet we can feel renewed hope and courage for the future. It is human nature to reflect on the life lived this past year, the mistakes and failures, the successes and victories. It is pointless and vain to mourn over things that cannot be undone. The only profit in our failings is to learn from them, and use the knowledge in our future attempts. Neither do we want to rest on our laurels in things accomplished, but strive in this coming year to be our very best in everything that we attempt to do. My greatest desire is to fulfill the mission that Christ has left for us, "That ye love one another as I have loved you."
The love that Christ has for us is a forgiving, unselfish love that reaches out to those in need. I pray that my love for others will be the same quality - a selfless love that is sensitive to the needs of others. We look ahead, and it seems that a whole year stretches out in front of us - clean and unused. Yet, all we really have is the present "now." We have no idea of what the next hour might bring, so we must use each day wisely. Here is a little poem that expresses the value of time.
This has been a difficult year for our family, but God has brought us through it. The future is unseen and uncertain, yet there is one thing of which we can be sure - the same God that led us through the year that is almost gone is the same God who will be with us throughout the coming year.
"I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," is His promise. We cannot forsake Him, as He is our anchor as we face an unknown future. HAPPY NEW YEAR COUSIN,
Cousin Alyce Faye
Time is money - we have no time to waste it.
Time is power - we have no right to dissipate it.
Time is influence - we have no right to throw it away.
Time is life - we must value it greatly.
Time is God's gift - He gives it to us for a purpose.
Time is a sacred trust - we must answer for every moment.
Time is wisdom - we have no right to be ignorant.
Time is preparation for eternity - we must redeem it.