New Year

New Year

In any given year, there are multiple new year celebrations around the world. When I was in Thailand, I used to have a chance to observe more than five New Year celebrations in our university campus. In January, western new year; in April, Thai New Year; in February, Chinese & Vietnamese New Year; in September, Ethiopian New Year and in December (sometimes in January) Karen & Hmong New Year. When you live in a community with multiple New Year celebrations, it makes you wonder about the essence of time. Measuring time by years actually has a deeper implication than celebrating New Year's Day. We count our ages by year. We measure academic progress by years. Budgets are assigned on yearly basis. Terms of offices in government, contracts in business and even the release of new models of different brands of cars and phones are determined and measured on a yearly basis. A year implies progress. It is a point in time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. To make it more meaningful, it is good to define our values in life.

If it is not about the shared experiences: the laughter, the surprises, the funny moments, the sadness and the fear,

If it is not about the lessons learned,

If it is not about the blessings to count,

If it is not about the obstacles we overcame together, the puzzles of life solved,

If it is not about the prayers answered,

If it is not for the common goals we worked for,

If it is not about the gratitude for every single blessing,

If it is not about the miracles that kept us safe on the road, on each flight, bus or train ride,

If it is not about determination to keep up the good work and work on our weaknesses, to seek and share forgiveness, to leave behind grudges and bitterness, to love and tolerate more,

New Year's Day is just another day elapsed in our lifespan.

The psalmist in the Bible asks God "So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart (Psalm 90:12, NRSV). Meaningful time management requires heavenly wisdom. This is because each day has so many unknowns. To spend a productive day, we need God's providence and unseen hand to guide and lighten our way. It requires trusting in His plans for our lives. " 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future' " (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).