The Closing of the Year

One of my favorite and most unknown songs of the holiday season is The Closing of the Year, which I first heard while watching the movie “Toys.” As I reflect on this past year, I find some pleasing satisfaction in this song. The lyrics are a good reminder about what Christmas and New Year are all about. Frankly this past year, has been a long year of never-ending immense growing and stretching for me. In reflection, there were times when I was in the bowels of despair, followed by complete humility, a sense of arriving, always salted with keep moving forward.

But the thing that has kept me moving forward is music. Without it, I know I would have found myself down and out, sitting under a bush like Jonah, focused only on my displeasure and not the good that came out of a situation. The following is a comprehensive list of the most impacting situations and the good that came from them…this isn’t a tell-all spill my guts list, but an honest list. If you read this I don’t want you to see a fabrication like a painted picture but an actual snapshot of this past year:

Problem – Senior pastor commits adultery, publicly lies about it, and is dismissed
Outcome – People came to Christ, freedom came to a staff, and the truth sets a man free
Song – Here in Your Presence off of the My Savior Lives album

Problem – Portion of the congregation distrusts staff or wonders if they can trust staff
Outcome – A newly composed staff is thrust into the spotlight, running a tighter ship, taking on more responsibilities and learning to say “no” a previously foreign concept
Song – Storm by Lifehouse

Problem – Interim Senior Pastor doesn’t get “The job”
Outcome – A church gets a new Senior Pastor in addition to retaining their Worship Pastor, church moves forward, and a man whom everyone thought couldn’t get any humbler does
Song – Unfortunately I can’t remember (read next paragraph)

Problem – Upon returning to the U.S. from a missions trip to Madagascar, and then the next day flying to Alabama I found out that I had a herniated disc! After different pain medications, a steroid epidural, my surgery getting pushed back a month because my surgeon had a boating accident, I have the herniated portion of the disc removed
Outcome – I learned how important family and friends really are
Song – O, For A Thousand Tongues To Sing by David Crowder Band

Problem – Troubled young man takes out vendetta at my church
Outcome – A shared experience knits a newly married family together…I’m not talking about the Works family, but the new New Life Church family
Song – Overcome by Jon Egan

For me, 2007 will be marked by these memories, and even now those songs conjure up the memories, emotions, and growth that I experienced. However, at the closing of the year, I reflect on that list and find myself drawn to the outcomes more than the problems. To me all of the outcomes were positive ones even if they sometimes came at a cost to a family. As the song, The Closing of the Year, suggests, “If I cannot bring you comfort then at least I bring you hope for nothing is more precious than the time we have and so we all must learn from small misfortune count the blessings that are real let the bells ring out for Christmas at the closing of the year.” As I ring in the New Year, I hope 2008 will be one of cheer, not one filled with comfort. After this year of small misfortunes, I really have learned to count my blessings. I’ve realized that comfortable is a place that I will never find myself…I want to keep moving forward with cheer.

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