Monday, December 31, 2007

At the Close of the Year

At the Close of the Year (Short Meter)

Let hearts and tongues unite,
And loud thanksgivings raise:
'Tis duty, mingled with delight,
To sing the Saviour's praise.

To Him we owe our breath,
He took us from the womb,
Which else had shut us up in death,
And prov'd an early tomb.

When on the breast we hung,
Our help was in the Lord;
'Twas He first taught our infant tongue
To form the lisping word.

When in our blood we lay,
He would not let us die,
Because His love had fix'd a day
To bring salvation nigh.

In childhood and in youth,
His eye was on us still:
Though strangers to His love and truth,
And prone to cross His will.

And since His name we knew,
How gracious has He been:
What dangers has He led us through,
What mercies have we seen!

Now through another year,
Supported by His care,
We raise our Ebenezer here,
"The Lord has help'd thus far."

Our lot in future years
Unable to foresee,
He kindly, to prevent our fears,
Says, "Leave it all to Me."

Yea, Lord, we wish to cast
Our cares upon Thy breast!
Help us to praise Thee for the past,
And trust Thee for the rest.

-- John Newton (1725-1807)


As each year closes, I get one year older. I heard someone else say, "I am having my second 25th birthday." Yea, that.

Proverbs 4:7 states, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Having travelled half a century in this world, I don't think I can profess to getting much wisdom and understanding. I seem to be naturally turned to be a "fact collector" or "information gatherer". Sometimes it seems to be a compulsion or an obsession. When asked "why do want to know that" there is often no reasonable answer. I just want to know it. But knowing about things or facts is not the same as getting wisdom and understanding. So after a half century, I don't have any wise words to lay on anyone. Instead, an anecdote.

Yesterday, speaking of her brother's and my birthdays, a cousin humorously recalled a misquote of Scripture from my childhood. I didn't think to ask her the circumstances. Perhaps it was a failed memory verse. Perhaps a mondegreen. Anyway, my rendition of I Thess. 5:17 was "Pray without cursing." Even though I was only two letters off, there is no doubt that Paul's heaven-inspired version is better. But as I said to my cousin, "That's not bad advice." ;-)

"God is great, but sometimes life ain't good; And when I pray, it doesn't always turn out like I think it should - But I do it anyway." -- "Anyway", Martina McBride

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