Welcome, New Year

 
We actually saw in the new year twice. My eldest daughter, who lives in Denmark, was here with us, together with her boyfriend. For the benefit of the Danes, at 11.00pm we found Danish Television on the internet and watched a live broadcast of the new year celebrations from the town hall in the heart of Copenhagen. Following the chimes of the town hall clock and the fireworks, a choir sang three songs: the Danish royal anthem, the national anthem and a hymn. It is tradition that these three are sung every year.
 
The hymn, written in 1849 by the highly influential Danish pastor and theologian N.F.S. Grundtvig, is,
Vær velkommen, Herrens år (Welcome to the Lord’s new year).
The hymn welcomes in the new year by reminding us that the year and the future belong to the Lord. It reminds us in turn that the Lord is the God of truth, the God of grace, the God of peace, and our Father God.
 
For me, listening to this beautiful Danish hymn struck the perfect note as we entered 2017, and its words and melody have been on my mind ever since. In the face of uncertainty, both globally and in our personal lives, it is good to be reminded that the new year is the Lord’s year. It is a great comfort and assurance to me to know that, whatever challenges I may face in 2017, the Lord who loves me, and each one of us, walks alongside me and ahead of me.

An English hymn by D.W. Whittle with a similar message based on the words of the Apostle Paul, puts it like this:

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.
 
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

In other words, we do not know what the future holds, but we know the One who holds the future. And the One who holds the future is holding us. The new year is the Lord’s year.

God bless,

Rev. James