I like this time of year, just after the whirlwind of Christmas preparations and celebrations; just before we gather with family and friends again to welcome in the new year. It’s a quiet, calm, relaxing change of pace that invites us to linger a bit. Linger. A perfect goal for these few days. To let our thoughts about the holiday we’ve just shared together and memories from this year that is coming to a close just linger a bit. Remain. Endure. Persist for a time before fading away. Relatives have traveled back to their homes. We returned all that needs returning, took advantage of those after-Christmas sales and finished up the leftovers. Now we’re trading the melody of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for the New Year’s Eve traditional favorite: “Auld Lang Syne.” Scottish poet Robert Burns adapted the phrase “auld lang syne,” which can be translated as “old long ago,” in the late 18th century from traditional Scottish songs. For decades, people have agreed it makes a festive way to close the ‘old long ago’ of days past and usher in the hopes and dreams of a new year. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of Auld Lang Syne? … So here’s a hand, my trusty friend, and give a hand o’ thine; we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne.” Life has slowed down a little this week, offering time for reflection. What memories do we want to tuck away, with kindness, in the closet of our hearts? Treasures that can take their place among the gifts of ‘long ago,’ ready to be opened and enjoyed in days ahead. The music of Christmas continues to play in my home and heart this quiet, December afternoon as I enjoy my holiday decorations just a bit more before I must pack them away. I’ve also been considering those that I want to pass along to my children and granddaughter as they build their own treasure chest of keepsakes. I want to share with them, not just the ornaments from the tree, but also reminders of the laughter, joy, sorrow, hope, and love that has woven our hearts together. How important it is for us to pause with family and friends—to linger a bit—as we reflect, with kindness, on what life has brought our way. Lest we forget those days of ‘auld lang syne.’ The past year was filled with some varied experiences. Victories to savor. Losses to grieve. Opportunities to seize. Challenges to master. Obstacles to overcome. Joys to celebrate. Pain to endure. Some experiences have been cause for celebration. Others, I’m grateful to have survived. Yet through them all, I have found life lessons I want to carry forward and build on in the days to come. Nothing to be wasted but rather wisdom and hope to be invested in the future and passed along to my family and friends. Right now, in the peacefulness of this winter day, as I curl up in my favorite chair with a steeping cup of coffee, I want to savor the spirit of the season that has brought warmth to my home and my heart. And I want to pass along a new year’s wish for you, one I hope you’ll enjoy as this year draws to a close. Find a favorite place to settle down, let your thoughts linger a bit and find warmth for your soul. Sip a ‘cup o’ kindness’ as you reflect back on the days of ‘auld lang syne.’ Tuck away what is to be treasured, restore what has been broken, share what can be passed along and look for the lessons God has for you as you reflect on His unfailing love. May the spirit of joy and the music of hope fill your heart as you ring out the old year and ring in the new. And, “May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16, the Bible). Happy New Year! Nancy Williams, M Ed, LPC offers counseling, life coaching and consulting services, and is the author of Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child (Bethany House, 2011). Send comments or questions to her at www.nancywilliams.net.

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