Today is a dreary, rainy day. I drove past the cemetery and saw the unmistakable signs of a recent burial. Someone was or is going to be buried on the very last day of the year. I stopped to sit and reflect for a couple of minutes, as the wipers swished back and forth on the windshield. Endings are inevitable.
Today is the last day of 2018, and the year comes to a close for the world. For me, there are a number of things in my life that are also being buried. I’m moving on from an injury that debilitated me and put a lot of things on hold. I’m burying some long held resentments and pain that have played too long with my soul. I’m shoveling dirt on situations from my past that have tried to pull me down into a pit of bitterness and fear. As I stand at the edge of the year, I’m not saying a teary goodbye; it’s more of a ‘good riddance’!
The lies, the injuries, the bitterness and the pain are all things that I can put in a symbolic box and bury forever. The apostle Paul frames the same idea with the picture of a cross. The things that represent negative power and practices in my life can be nailed to the cross of Jesus and can die there. I don’t have to let them live! I also have the ability to receive a new beginning, and put life-giving practices into place, because Jesus was raised from the dead.
Tonight people all over the world look back at days gone by, or ‘Auld Lang Syne’, if you will. I heard my favorite lyrics to that song today, as Marc Anthony sings:
And as we gather ’round the tree
Our voices all combine
In sweet accord to thank the Lord
For a Christmas auld lang syne
We sing his praise this day of days
And pray next year this time
We’ll all be near to share the cheer
Of a Christmas auld lang syne
I’m thankful for the cross: the tree that I can gather around with other followers of Jesus and be reminded that I don’t have to live in darkness. As I put some difficult things behind me, I’m thankful for a new year, new life, and hope for the future.
I know that, although buried, none of the thing I buried will be forgotten tomorrow. Memories will come back to remind me of their former presence in my life, and people I meet will trigger a reality that once was. These things may come back to haunt my dreams, but they will not be welcome in my present. They are no longer alive and well in my life.
I’m looking forward to 2019: to start something new, to move forward, and to see what God will do in my life. Happy New Year, everybody!
“…we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4