By Diane Gunsolley, Aberdeen Village chaplain
Did you stay awake until midnight on New Year’s Eve? If you did, you’re ahead of me. I think that I can count on one hand the times in my life that I’ve actually made it to midnight. I consider it a successful New Year’s Eve if I make it to 11 p.m. and cheer as the ball drops in Times Square.
My most memorable celebration was New Year’s Eve 1979. I was spending the year in Spain studying at a university in Madrid and somehow ended up at their version of Times Square called the Puerta del Sol. As the clock gonged announcing the new year, I almost choked to death by popping 12 grapes in my mouth (as was their custom). Not just 12 grapes —rather 12 huge grapes with seeds. Why would I do such a crazy thing? All I can say is, when in Rome…
I want you to remember that was about five years before the Heimlich maneuver was commonly used. Yes, it was back in the good ole days of slapping people on the back until they cried. Today, I imagine that all Spaniards take a refresher course in the Heimlich leading up to New Year’s Eve just as we Americans do before entering hot dog eating contests.
These days, I’m much older and wiser in my New Year’s Eve plans. I focus on New Year’s resolutions by committing to eat right, exercise and lose weight. Truth be told, I’m not resolute with my resolutions and always fall short of the goal. How wise is it to do the same thing year after year and expect different results?
This past November, Rev. Jodi Mathews of South Broadland Presbyterian Church joined us for our Sunday evening vespers service. In her sermon, she challenged us to look at the big picture. Rev. Mathews said if we turn and look at God, our small thoughts will enlarge to line up with his.
I wonder what is on God’s heart for 2017? How should I pray? Could anything be more important than my waistline?
This year, I want to come into agreement with everything God is doing. I’m asking him to touch me with the people, movements and nations that are touching him. And because I know that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, I also plan to eat right, exercise and lose weight. According to 1 Timothy 4:8, physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life, and the life to come.