C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
New Years Day
A. D.the world writes the letters carelessly as it turns the page to record for the first time the new year; but in these letters is the open secret of the ages, for this, too, is a year of our Lord, an acceptable year, a year of grace.
If this be a happy new year, a year of usefulness, a year in which we shall live to make this earth better, it is because God will direct our pathway. How important, then, to feel our dependence upon Him!
A new year is upon us, with new duties, new conflicts, new trials, and new opportunities. Start on the journey with Jesusto walk with Him, to work for Him, and to win souls to Him. The last year of the century, it may be the last of our lives! A happy year will it be to those who, through every path of trial, or up every hill of difficulty, or over every sunny height, march on in closest fellowship with Jesus, and who will determine that, come what may, they have Christ every day.
Let us give it (the new year) nothing to keep which will not prove an honor to Gods name and a blessing to the world; nothing which we shall not be willing to learn of again when we stand before the great white throne.
Let the new year be a year of freedom from sin, a year of service, a year of trust in God, and it will be a happy year from first to last. It may be the hardest year we have known, but it will be the happiest.
He who has found upon earth the city of his affections, and who with every onward step is only advancing toward a mist, may well look upon New Years day as a day of sorrow. Well may it be a dark and gloomy day to the man who, as a poor and humble pilgrim, is journeying to some royal city where he has not a single friend to welcome his arrival or offer him the shelter of a roof. A poor and humble pilgrim am I; but, God be thanked! I know of One who long ago prepared for me a place. Hence it is that as I pass the milestones each in succession becomes an altar, on which I present oblations of gratitude and praise. There are many, I am aware, to whom the thought of the flight of time is dispiriting. For me, I feel that He hath not given the spirit of fear, but of power.
But just in proportion as we are not contented with our sphere, nor satisfied with ourselves, do we reach out longingly to a better sphere and a worthier course of life; and therefore it is that, to so many of us, the end of an old year brings a sense of relief, in that its shortcomings and failures are now to be left behind, while the approach of a new year suggests a hope of something different and better beyond, in the path we are treading.
There exists a very beautiful custom in Germany, which it would be well to imitate everywhere. On the first day of the New Year, whatever may have been the quarrels or estrangement between friends and relatives, mutual visits are interchanged, kindly greetings given and receivedall is forgotten and forgiven. Let this custom begin with reconciliation to God, then friendship and fellowship may be found that shall be blessed and lasting.
Not till that last day, the day that closes our mortal existence, shall we fully understand the brevity of time. Yet time is our life; its passage is our death. The moment we began to live, that moment we began to die. We forget too often that the departure of time means the departure of our life. When the warm blood flows full and strong through all the swelling veins, and full-robed joy animates body and mind; when in the series of our days and years there occurs no startling circumstance to arrest our notice or awake our thought, we forget that we are not moored, but are ever gliding, though we notice not our motion, down the stream of time.
Whatever the past year may have meant to you, make it dead history. But let the new year be a living issue. With a big, fresh sponge, dripping with the clear water of forgiveness, wipe clean the slate of your heart. Enter the year with a kind thought for every one. You need not kiss the hand that smote you, but grasp it in cordial good feeling, and let the electricity of your own resolves find its connecting currentwhich very often exists where we think it not. Make the new year a happy one in your home; be bright of disposition; carry your cares easy; let your heart be as sunshine, and your life will give warmth to all around you. And thus will you and yours be happy.
No one ever regarded the first of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. Of all sound of bells (bells the music highest bordering upon heaven), most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the old year. I never heard it without a gathering-up of my mind to a concentration of all the images that have been diffused over the past twelve-month. All I have done or suffered, performed or neglectedin that regretted time. I begin to know its worth as when a person dies. It takes a personal color; nor was it a poetical flight of a contemporary, when he exclaimed: I saw the skirts of the departing year. It is no more than what in sober sadness, every one of us seems to be conscious of in that awful leave-taking.
The old year is dead, the new year is born. Humbly, fearfully, we sink on our knees, and slowly, in answer to our prayers, comes back something of the old faith of our childhood, and we rejoice that we are granted one more New Years day on which to begin againnot in our childish way, with utter disregard of the past, but trustingly, patiently, knowing that we must ever carry with us our past, and rejoicing that, with Gods help, we may make the future better because of the past. Then, as we rise from our knees, we look bravely forward to the veiled figure that stands at our threshold; we know nothing of what it brings, we know only that it is Gods new year. May He bless it to us all!