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Forgetting 2020, Beginning 2021

Since the sixteenth century, Japanese people have observed bōnenkai, literally, “forget the year gathering.” These gatherings have recently included destruction of the previous year’s calendars, as a symbolic way of moving on to the next year. There are other ingredients to their gatherings in which I’d prefer not to participate, but I sure like the idea of forgetting some of the negative parts of 2020. Yes, there were good, God-given, things about 2020, but so many unpleasant things made it a year to forget. In fact, I’m not sure we ought to be required to add it to our age, since much of the year was unused. So let’s approach 2021 in agreement with the old Cherokee proverb, “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.” I love the quote by the late American Columnist, Bill Vaughan. “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” I seldom stay up until midnight anymore, but if I did it might be to be sure 2020 is gone, and to get a fresh start with 2021. The Apostle Paul lived and wrote several centuries before the Japanese celebrations of bonenkai began, but he had the idea in Philippines 3:13-14, “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.”

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