2023 and 2024
I have written before of the 16th century Japanese “Forgetting the Year” Party, where participants brought the past year calendars to the party and destroyed them. We sentimental folks prefer keeping our old calendars in order to look back and reflect. We gain insight as well as strength from past experiences. However, there is something to be said also for destroying the old calendars. While 2023 brought many blessings, not the least of which were many new friendships, both from my interim pastorate at Trinity Hills Baptist Church in Benbrook as well as my monthly teaching of church leaders in the Rio Grande Valley, the year brought its share of heartaches – illness and death of family members and close friends, personal health struggles, and just the issues that go with aging. So, there are parts of 2023 that I would like to forget, and there are parts I would like to cherish. Had there been such a thing as a “Forgetting the Year” party in the days of the Apostle Paul, he might have attended, since there were things in his past he would have liked to forget. But there were also things in his future that excited him. So, he wrote, “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 3:13-14). As we begin 2024, join me as we press on.