There are 365 days in a year, unless the President is campaigning for office, then we have one additional, insufferable day. Each day has twenty-four hours. Each hour has sixty minutes. Each minute has sixty seconds. For all the near precision of the world wobbling, spinning, and orbiting the sun, time does not seem precise, but seems to slow sometimes almost to a crawl and at other times race ahead.
This past year was over and it now seems to have gone by so fast events blurred. My daughter who I held in the hospital is now nine. My toddler has lost his first tooth as he heads into six. In six months I will be forty. “Zoom,” time says. “Whoa,” replies my body. Where did it all go?
Perhaps the most beneficial thing I did this past year was enroll in seminary. I took one class — covenant theology. I had to make sure I could balance family, three jobs, and school. I did, but barely. The class presented the Bible as one story. It may be divided into testaments and books and chapters and verses, but the gospel runs from beginning to end, unbroken even by death.
One of the most striking things throughout is the consistency of the value of family. God raised Adam from the dust of the earth, created Eve from Adam, and told them to be fruitful and multiply. After the great flood, God again tells Noah and his family to be fruitful and multiply. Family is important. God provides blessings through family.
In the account of Noah, God finds Noah, not Noah’s family, to be righteous. But Noah’s family can still seek the protection of the ark because of Noah. The family unit remains intact though none in the family, save Noah, was found righteous by God. Noah’s righteousness positively impacts the whole of his family.
Likewise, in Genesis, we see the great contrast between men and God. Men tried to raise up a tower into the heavens. They wanted to be mighty. “Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth,” they said. Their tower crumbled and they were dispersed. They, left to their own devices, were ultimately forgotten.
The story of the Tower of Babel appears in Genesis 11. One chapter over, God tells Abram that God will make him a mighty nation. The contrast is stunning. The people tried to make themselves mighty lest they be dispersed. God told Abram that God would make Abram mighty if he did disperse. He was to flee his home, his land, and his father’s house and go to a land the Lord promised. Abram relied on God, instead of himself, and prospered. Again, in that story, we see the blessings that come from family and flow through families to future generations.
A new year comes with time to make commitments to ourselves. Many will make resolutions and most will be forgotten or abandoned within weeks. Perhaps our resolutions should focus on letting God work in our lives and we should rededicate ourselves to our families — honoring our parents and supporting our children.
We head into a new year with a world on edge. We do not know what 2015 will bring. Much of it will be outside our control. There will be times we will feel helpless. Some of you reading may not see 2016. But we should let tomorrow worry about itself and we should focus on what matters most — God and family. Happy New Year.