Tuesday, 03 January 2017 17:08

Count the blessings of this new year

Written by  Harold Bales

This New Year, 2017, couldn’t get here soon enough to suit me! I’m not lying about this. As we hillbillies say, “I’m done wore out.” I’m ready for a new year and some relief. The rustic rube that is me says, “I’ve done swore off,” of cable TV cable news. I’m just “flat-out, slap-dab done.” Football season is about finished and none of my favorite teams has done well. So that’s done. Please, somebody, just stick a fork in me; I’m done!

I apologize, friends, for that brief diatribe but I couldn’t hold it back any longer. I know it wasn’t pretty and I should have warned you in advance to protect your young children from that ugly display. However, I do believe I’m feeling better already. I’m going to breathe deeply a few times and hit the reset button.

What a wonderful thing it is! I’m talking about the reset button. My mind is cleared by a few breaths of brisk, winter air. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. All is not necessarily well with the world but there’s a lot right about it. That reset button did wonders for me today. We all need such a button at times. I am glad that the calendar provides us a chance to do that on New Year’s Day. Nature itself has a built-in reset button. Winter will reset to spring before long and then comes summer followed by autumn. Nature knows.

Over the next few days, most of us will set some goals for this brand new year. We will make some resolutions to do things differently. This will please those who live with us. This is good. The ability to change is the most important talent of successful people. Who among us cannot be improved by some positive change? However, I think that today I will simply luxuriate in some things about the world that make me happy. I’m done with “B” attitudes, second-rate attitudes.

In his famous “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus gives a list of “Beatitudes.” Each begins with the word “blessed.” Translate that word “blessed” into “happy” and you get the best sense of what Jesus is saying. So here are some of my beatitudes that trump my “B” attitudes on this New Year’s Day:

• Blessed are those who went to sleep last night prepared to meet God.

• Blessed are those who awoke this morning prepared to greet God.

• Blessed are the peacemakers, for they keep hope alive and there are many of them.

• Blessed are those who will see the good in their neighbors today.

• Blessed are those who are in an angry mood today, for they have the opportunity to be blessed instead by joy.

• Blessed are the generous, for generosity is its own reward and those who receive it are blessed as well.

This list could go on and on. And it will. You can make your own list, and that is a blessed, happy thought. I began this little sermon by moaning and groaning about being done with stuff. But I have hit the reset button. The new year will be a success for us all if we will resolve to hit the resist button when we are seduced by negativity in 2017. And if we will reset, reset, reset — that’s what a patient God keeps hoping we will do.

Happy New Year!

Harold Bales is a retired Methodist minister who lives in Concord. He enjoys hearing from his readers, so send him an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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