I discovered some new Christmas songs this year that I downloaded and added to my Christmas play list. One of them was a version of Auld Lang Syne by The Tenors. It forced me to listen to the lyrics in ways I confess I just hadn’t before. Part of it is I didn’t really know what the title phrase that is repeated what feels like hundreds of times throughout the song even means. It’s a Scottish song that poet Robert Burns captured some of the language from the oral tradition of some old timers and then added his own words in 1788. The song title translates as “long, long ago” or “old times”. Hence why it has traditionally been sung at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.
The song basically starts out asking should we forget about old times? And then the chorus answers its own question by saying no, we should toast and remember days gone by. However what struck me this time was how it said we should do that. It wasn’t just clank your glasses and say cheers and then bottoms up. It invites us to “take a cup of kindness”. I listened to The Tenors sing that to me all Christmas season and it imprinted on me.
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?
- For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
As I reflected back on this year which is my usual practice in my journal on New Year’s Eve, there were some memorable moments but if I’m being quite honest and including our political landscape, there has been much to turn one’s back on in 2018 and hope for much better in the coming year. This has not been our brightest shining moment on the world platform. It has also not been the brightest shining moment personally for me and Greg.
While we said goodbye to one long time furry baby in our family this year, a few months later we welcomed a great new kitty cat to our family. We also went through the very difficult act of picking up one’s life and moving. While we love our new church and community we have entered, it is still hard to leave friends and home and carve a new niche in a new community. Maybe I was feeling that as Christmas approached and I pulled out Christmas decorations that in the condo I knew exactly where to put it but in the new parsonage, I had to find new places and configurations for my Christmas trinkets. The same is true for me and Greg finding our place in the community. Throw in a few health concerns and some job and financial stress it’s no wonder we are looking forward hopefully to 2019 and not fondly backward to 2018.
I think for all of the above reasons, the line “take a cup of kindness” struck me. When I look around, I think we could all use a cup of kindness. Believe me, I am completely cognizant that the things I reflect on pale in comparison to what some people are facing. And in a time in our country where our default feels like it falls to self-interest, or division and creating enemies to battle against, or ignoring decorum in order to upset the status quo no matter the costs I think a cup of kindness is in tall order.
So I figure if I am longing to receive a cup of kindness than it should be my goal to do my very best to offer a cup of kindness to anyone in my sphere of influence. I would argue that Jesus’ version of this line is:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. – Luke 6:31NIV
A simple plea as we start the new year. While we shouldn’t forget old times, they are
what shapes us and forms us into who we are, we don’t have to dwell on them. Own them. Acknowledge them. Relish those that make you smile. Move on from those that don’t. Take a cup of kindness, especially as balm for those tender places, and look ahead to what is in store for you yet to be experienced.
God’s Blessings and Abundant Kindnesses in 2019,