Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Year Reflections.

I wonder if we can ever get used to the hustle and bustle of welcoming Christmas and later, New Year; and at the same time; switch on our contemplative moods to reflect and examine the year that we had. If Life were a stage, perhaps it must be that the production be a low-cost one, where actors have to switch roles between being on-stage to act and off-stage to monitor the props and settings.

As the New Year approaches, one wonders if there should be a build-up of anticipation for a fresh start or the calm expectations of the continuation of existing processes. I would say there must be both. While I must expect duties, work and relationships with people to resume in the same order as before, I also must reserve room for unexpected surprises in areas of my life that I may have taken for granted previously in the same aspects of duties, work and relationships with other people. This may constitute a new attitude in spiritual discipleship, a new knowledge of interest and gift for a particular ministry or even a new environment to work and serve in.

However, one can’t help but to notice the tension between being able to be surprised by the expectations of being surprised. How then do we be continuously excited about God’s surprises for us? C. S. Lewis once wrote that one must not expect the same excitement for when he first waded in a pool than when he was able to finally swim in the open sea. The wife must not anticipate first-date-nervousness after being married to her husband for fifty years. Yet, all these do not account for being less passionate for the same object of affection one used to shower so much adoration unto.

In every manner, what C.S. Lewis wrote was true and rational. However, I panic at the thought of not being ‘rightfully’ excited about the resolutions for the New Year. If nothing surprises me anymore in areas of my service, discipleship and livelihood as student, woman and servant; I am in the dangers of turning into an Ebenezer Scrooge of Christmas- jaded, miserable and indifferent.

Yet, by providence churned from my God, the Master of Surprises; I am caught in a surprise by how little I still know about Him and of Him. A reading of John Piper’s sermon here woke me up from my philosophical dream. I now realized that I have indeed substituted so much time and effort into making Christianity a mere fantastical philosophy rather than grasping the Word for its Divine Power and Revelation through devotional prayers and meditations. Whence once I would write down verses for memorizing purposes, I now find myself devoting time instead to read the Bible through the eyes of philosophers. Not only have I lost the inclination to meditate on Bible verses, but my quiet time and Bible-reading have been spent only on groggy mornings and if-I-have-time-evenings. My prayers are humanistic and selfish because without that devotional time to set aside for meditation purposes, I lost the meaning to search for His Will in my prayers.

I thank God that such timely reminders came in the event that I thought I was doing such a marvelous job in meditating His Word; and advices on meditation and quiet time should only be passed on to others. If the thoughts of philosophers have impressed me much for the past year, I now pray for my willingness to be inspired by the Word of God again.

I may not have an exciting new ministry to consider nor even flashy opportunities to flex my reading muscles for this coming new year, but I have found that ‘old music box hidden in the attic’ that I fell in love with years ago- the old knowledge for the love of His Word; made new in times of forgetfulness.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
(Psa 1:1-3)

I have every reason to be thankful this New Year. May it be a time of reflecting and rejoicing to you too.

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