Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne (English translation: Old Long Since)

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And old lang syne?

(Chorus)
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We two have run about the slopes,
And picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
Since auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
For auld lang syne.

As I read the translation of Auld Lang Syne and pondered its implication to the closing out of 2020, I couldn’t help but share.

Hindsight is 2020 they say. This New Year’s Eve, as we reflect back on 2020, let’s look carefully and seek clarity. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. The year has been so challenging, frightening even for some, that we tend to want to put it behind us and forget it ever happened. But that would be unwise. There is much to learn and even much to appreciate from the year 2020.

Things we have learned in 2020.

  1. The importance of keeping relationships healthy. We never know when life will change or death will come. Scripture tells us, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:13-14) We must learn to work on even those difficult relationships. Mend fences. Re-establish broken ties with family members. Take care of those we love. Love them fully and let go of bitterness.
  2. We do need to take that cup of kindness and give a cup of kindness. I’m not sure of the intent of the author of the song, but if nothing else in this strange year, we have learned to lead with kindness. Be kind to those who wear a mask and those who don’t. To Democrats & Republicans. To people different from us in every way imaginable. To the hurting, the sick, the poor, the rich, the godly, the ungodly, the sweet and the mean ones. Just be kind. “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: … in… kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love.” (2 Corinthians 6:3-4 & 6)
  3. Grab the opportunity for every beautiful experience you can. The third verse of our song talks about picking daisies, running about the slopes and wandering around on long walks. Time outdoors, time traipsing around with friends, time in the sun, these things are crucial to our physical and mental health. Get out in the great outdoors with friends as often as you can. “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord.” Psalm 96:11-13
  4. In 2020, we too found that many of those we paddled through life with are not around; there is suddenly a broad sea between us. Working at home suddenly separates you from your “work family.” Church friends that you once saw every Sunday or even several times a week may now have been absent from your life for 9 months. Family and friends in other cities, states, or countries are absent from our lives, and the recent holidays proved to be a lonely affair for many.

So what do we do? We reach out and lend a hand. We offer a big cup of sweet tea on the deck, 6 feet away, in the sunshine. We meet for Bible study class at the park. We Zoom with each other. We call on the phone – the old fashioned way. We leave cute “happies” on a door step, take a bag of groceries or swap good books and puzzles when we’re through with them. We choose joy. We choose life. We choose to love and reach out.

During this dark time, we turn our hearts back where they belong – to Jesus.

A. We allow our Father God to plant and nurture and grow in us the fruit of His Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) There may be mask restrictions, or distancing guidelines, but there is no law against all the good that the Holy Spirit grows in us and pours through us to others.

B. We seek Him while He may be found. (Isaiah 55:6)

C. We tap down that worry and turn it over to Him through prayer and thankfulness. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

D. We walk in faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see…. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible…. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1,3,6)

E. And “finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) We exercise self-control over our thoughts.

I’m sure I’ve just scratched the surface. There are many more ways we can apply scripture for our own good. Take a moment to reply with a verse you live out in your life that brings God’s peace and encouragement. Have a blessed 2021, but ponder on the lessons of 2020.

Original Auld Lang Syne (Scots language)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For days of auld lang syne

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit
Sin days of auld lang syne

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn
Frae morning sun till dine
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin days of auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For days of auld lang syne

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp
And surely I’ll be mine
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere
And gie’s a hand o’ thine
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

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