If you’re like me, you received a handful of those Christmas letters. You know, the kind that tell a family’s 2012 life story—who got married, who’s been sick, where they traveled, who changed jobs, what great things the kids accomplished. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve sent that kind of thing a few times ourselves over the years. Once, I put in my letter a bunch of bogus stuff about my son being in jail and my daughter running away—just to see if people actually read those things. Only two people responded. I think that’s the last one I ever sent.
Anyway, this week my family received a Christmas letter from the Baker family. Larry Baker is one of my mentors, a man who has helped provide me with opportunities, a man from whom I have learned much. In fact, our son Nathan is named for him. Larry has doen a lot of writing through the years, and along with the Christmas letter, he sent a new year’s reflection he wrote for the occasion. He concluded that reflection with words that struck me as powerful and encouraging in the early days of a brand new year. They came in the form of a stanza from a poem. Let me set the scene.
World War II officially began in September of 1939. England, of course, was drawn into the conflict immediately and in 1940 would take an incredible pounding from the German Luftwaffe. In his broadcast to the nation on Christmas, 1939, King George IV quoted Minnie Louise Haskin’s poem. It’s a great poem for a new year as we launch out into an unknown future.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the new year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into
the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!”
All I can say to that is, “Amen.”