Close of Business

“For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” Proverbs 6:23

In his 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire, a nation on the brink of war, King George VI quoted an excerpt from a 1908 poem by Minnie Louise Haskins. The poem is titled “God Knows”, and it is commonly called the “The Gate of the Year”.

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.”

There’s a poignant line from the book Out of Africa by Isaak Dinesen that was used in the movie of the same name. Upon learning her husband, Baron von Blixen, had infected her with a then incurable disease, the Baroness says, “It wasn’t what I thought would happen to me now.”

Life surprises all of us.

For me, 2012 was a year of surprises and sudden changes, pleasant and unpleasant. The year was strange and very little of it came as I expected. I did not see what lay ahead. I thought 2012 would contain the same “sameness” as the years before it: That it would be more or less like 2011, which wasn’t much different than 2010, which was pretty much the same as 2009, and so on and so forth.

Although 2012 left me better than it found me, I’m glad to say goodbye to it. It feels good to turn out the light and shut the door on the past twelve months. I’m satisfied to make the “COB” entry for “Close of Business”, just as we used to annotate the end of a day’s work on the operations log at Fort Worth ARTCC. Time for a fresh start, a blank page. Because of God’s mercies I wasn’t consumed. His compassions don’t fail and His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22, 23)

As I turn from the past, the future lies ahead, and the Apostle Paul’s words spring to mind, words that were among the first Scriptures to captivate me as a young Christian. They resonate with me as profoundly tonight as when I first read them nearly forty years ago. All those years ago, when so much had not yet been imagined that is now completed. When I spent time with people who now sleep.

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

When Auld Lang Syne plays this year, it’s time to hide the “long, long ago” in my heart where it can be safe while I reach toward and embrace the life ahead.

There is a race.

There is a goal.

There is a prize.

For those who live.

© Melissa Kay Simonds

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