The Revised Common Lectionary uses the following passage as one of the readings for New Year’s Eve. Many of us know the first eight verses, maybe not the words exactly but the back and forth contrasting style of the “times”. These words have be made popular musically and they ring true in our lives. There is a time for good and bad, for happy and sad, for singing and silence. Our lives are contrasts.
I wondered why the lectionary passage continued past the familiar first eight verses. It seems to move into another territory. And yet, tucked away in the words of toil, is that small statement that says so much “moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds”. We are able to compare one time to another. We can write our Christmas letters from memory. We can dream about what the future could hold. What a gift!
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
9What gain have the workers from their toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with.11He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-12, NRSV)
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are a good time for remembering and dreaming. We have been blessed here in this household again in the past year. God continues to walk along beside us on our journey (it’s a good thing because He knows the destination). We continue to look forward to what the next days, weeks, and months will bring. I hope that you can as well.
Happy New Year