Thursday, December 30, 2010

Auld lang syne

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:2).

On New Year’s Eve, it is traditional to sing Auld Lang Syne. The verses of this song go back to a Scottish poet named Robert Burns. When Burns wrote the song in 1788, he said that his work was an adaptation of a much older folksong which had never been committed to paper. Auld Lang Syne became very popular in Scotland, and soon spread not only to England but around the world as well.

Most people only know the first verse, although there are several others that follow. The Scottish words Auld Lang Syne can be translated as "days gone by" or "old times." The opening verse poses a question: is it proper to let people you knew in the past to be forgotten? The refrain says no—instead, let’s have a toast to honor their memory. The rest of the song then reflects on happy times from days long ago.

Turning the calendar to January can come with a sigh of relief—a new year represents a fresh start. This might be the year when you get a better job. This might be the year when you graduate from school. This might be the year when you meet the love of your life.

But closing the book on the past isn’t always a good thing. How many special people get left behind? Are you still in touch with your very first best friend? How often do you spend time with the people who stood up for your wedding? Where do your aging parents fit into your busy schedule? How often have you asked yourself the question, "whatever happened to…?"

I’d guess that there are many people from your past that are long forgotten or barely remembered. Is the LORD God one of them? Did you stop going to church years ago and never got back in the habit of worshipping? Can you remember the last time you opened a Bible? How long has it been since you turned off the TV and really focused on a thoughtful, heartfelt prayer to Jesus?

We are beginning a new year. This is a wonderful time to renew old relationships—especially your relationship with Christ. As the song says, don’t let old acquaintances be forgot.

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