When I was in college at Carroll College (yes, before it became the prestigious “university” it is now), my friends and I came up with a plan to celebrate New Year’s at my Park Falls cabin. Plans were made, travel times set and my parents even agreed to the whole idea. A few days before I got a call from one friend that his family was upset he would not ring in the New Years with them-so he had to back out. A day later, another friend called that her sister was sick and she couldn’t come. One by one, all my friends were pulled into greater responsibilities and could not come.

My family, always people to miss a party, were not interested in coming. But I still committed myself to a holiday job at the local snowmobile bar. After a rather long evening of serving fish to locals, I snowshoed home through the woods to my empty cabin. I made a fire and sat down on the couch; all by myself.

Honestly, it was the most lonely New Year’s Eve of my life. It made me realize one thing: I had a lot of wonderful people who loved me. Being separated from them far out in the woods on that cold night, helped me to realize just how important they were to me and how blessed I was for each of them. In this way, it was the most memorable New Year’s Eve of my life. Isaiah says:

“Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away and your daughters carried on their nurse’s arms. Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.”

How did you celebrate New Year’s Eve? Did you stay up (confession: I was asleep) and ring in the new year? Did you attend a party or spend time with family? Did you call anyone you love and wish them glad tidings and warm wishes? Were you alone or missing someone you could not be with? Did you take the time to count your blessings or take stock of all that God has gifted you with? Did you lift your eyes beyond the party mix or television screen to think about those whom God has placed in your life as signs of God’s everlasting promises of love and presence?

We all have much to be thankful for on New Year’s. We can be thankful for the love we know now, and for the love of those whom are now with God. As individuals, as a church and as part of God’s people of faith. Let us remember to start this year with gratitude in our hearts and commit to serve others as we have been served, so we will have a memorable year to come.

Happy New Years! Pastor Nick

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