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Posts Tagged ‘gate of the year’

Recently, as I was saying goodbye to a friend at her door, she let out a small scream and stared down at a something near where we were standing.  At first, I thought she must have seen some fearsome insect or reptile, but I soon realised her scream had actually been a cry of joy.  I looked where she was pointing excitedly and saw two tiny, tiny shoots poking through the earth in a large pot, each with two miniscule leaves.  Nothing much to get so excited about, I thought.  But then she explained how, when she had looked just three or four hours earlier, they had not been there at all – and that the seeds planted there were actually sunflower seeds, a gift from a young friend soon to be married.  This friend had given such seeds to various people to plant, in the hope that, come her wedding day, enough of them would have survived and bloomed in time to be carried as bouquets at her wedding!

A beautiful idea, I thought to myself.  And then another thought came, that these two tiny, vulnerable plants that have pushed their way to the surface towards the sun are a little like our own lives, as we face another year.  There may be all sorts of things ahead that will nurture us and help us grow and flourish, yet there may also be others that will batter us and perhaps even threaten to destroy.  So I know I need assurance that, whatever happens, I am safe and secure in God’s loving care and protection.  Then I can step out into this new year with much more courage and joy, ready to tackle any challenge that may come, ready to truly live and use my gifts fully to bless and encourage others.

I have a childhood memory of a plaque my mother used to keep on our dining room sideboard, featuring the following poem by M L Haskins:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

‘Give me a light, that I might tread safely into the unknown!’

And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness

and put your hand into the hand of God!

This shall be to you better than light

and safer than a known way.’

I thought that was all there was to this poem, until I recently discovered two more lines:

So I went forth, and finding the hand of God

trod gladly into the night.

May we all find that hand of God lovingly held out to us, as we enter the new year.  May we all tread gladly into whatever 2010 will hold for us, knowing that we need not fear the night, since God is with us.

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