2018

Happy New Year 

New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on the year ending but also to look forward to the one about to be born at the stroke of midnight. As I write I know it is already 2018 where some of you live in other time zones and on the other side of the world, so it is not at one magical instant that we simultaneously experience this event. Regardless, within a span of a few hours, we all contemplate and celebrate a new year.

I have always liked new beginnings, fresh starts to “get it right” and I imagine that there are many of you who feel the same. Isn’t that why we make New Year’s resolutions year after year? I used to love the fresh clean pages of the new calendar in January but now they are a thing of the past for most of us. With our electronic calendars, we can enter or delete appointments, goals, and plans too easily perhaps leaving no trace of unfulfilled hopes.

Regardless, in a few hours, it will be a new year all around the globe and we all have another chance to do better, to get it right. What are your plans? Are you making resolutions? If so are they serious about world peace perhaps or attaining a new educational degree? Or typical, such as to lose a few pounds? I’ve learned that resolutions are an exercise in futility for me so I no longer set myself up to fail.

I have been asked in the past few days by two individuals what my plans are for 2018 and this is different I believe from asking what my resolutions are. Even before asked I had given thought to how to best invest my time with an emphasis on what I most enjoy. I know there will be wasted hours and perhaps even days, but by keeping focused daily on what I have identified as most significant I believe that I have a better chance to see 2018 end with a sense of having lived.

 

The Unlived Year
Midnight strikes and the old year's gone.
We close the tablets we've written on.
And torn 'twist hope and doubt and fear,
we open the book of the unlived year!

An unlived year! Ah, stained with tears
are the well-thumbed volumes of other years!
Soiled by blunders and black regret 
are the pages we read with eyelids wet. 

But fresh in our hands once more is laid
a clean, new book by the Master made.
Unmarred are the pages lying there--
Twelve new chapters fresh and fair.

It is ours to write the daily tale,
of how we conquer - or how we fail;
Of struggle and effort and hope that makes 
like a song in the heart, when the bright day breaks.

Yes, fresh in our hands with the title clear, 
is the challenge now of an unlived year!
Author Unknown

My Mother loved the poem (above) entitled “The Unlived Year” and each New Year’s Eve she would read it once again. I am looking now at a copy of that poem which was in her Bible when she died. Although the poem’s point is that we have an unlived year before us, I can’t help but think of it in another way. What if we looked back on the year behind us and realize it was unlived? How sad to have fretted over the trivial, to have reacted to things we cannot change and therefore to have missed opportunities to actually live. I plan to be more consciously aware of the gift that is this coming year and I do have plans to live it to the fullest. 

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Theme Photo by Pixabay

May your 2018 be filled with love and peace.

May our world be lit by harmony and understanding among all of creation.  

 

December

Trees

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The beautiful autumn leaves are gone and the deciduous trees look a bit like skeletons against the sky. 

For many of us, our thoughts turn to indoor evergreens burdened with red and green or multi-colored lights and ornaments.

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Decorations in your home may be blue, white and silver for Hanukkah or they may reflect a different tradition such as the celebration of first fruits which is Kwanzaa. Many European countries celebrate Boxing Day and each in a slightly different way. Ōmisoka is celebrated on the last day of December by the Japanese as the prelude or bridge to the New Year. Ramadan, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, may occur in December but will not again until 2030.  

Holidays

Celebrations are very personal depending on one’s country of origin, religious tradition or cultural preferences. We usually call such days “Holidays” whether or not they are official holidays in a particular country. The best way we can demonstrate love, show respect for others and be open to enlightenment is to not only share our values and beliefs but to try to understand those of others.

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 Greetings and Best Wishes

I feel good whether I’m wished Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. The fact that someone is wishing me well is what is important. To me, the only appropriate response it to wish them well with any words that they have used. It isn’t the word that matters most, it is the thought, the wish, the greeting. When unsure what tradition another person celebrates it does not seem to me that an all-inclusive greeting (Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings) diminishes my personal tradition, which is Christmas. 

So to the ninety-two followers of “Crooked Creek”  and readers from thirty-five countries other than the United States, please allow me to wish you Happy Holidays filled with love and hope for a kind and peaceful world.