While many people are out on a shopping spree to liquidate any cash reserves they might have left, I am taking this time to do a little bit of reflection.
Thanksgiving dinner is over, everybody's focus is on Christmas and so I plan to take advantage of this space. Everybody is somewhere and I am glad (you did not hear me say it) they are not here.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is in the kitchen doing whatever she does in the kitchen. I have learned after 43 years of marital bliss that if I want to maintain the bliss in my marriage I need to keep out of the kitchen when someone else is there, especially her. I have learned to live with this and it is a wonderful life.
Resting and reflecting in my easy chair, I started thinking about the past year.
The best way to sum up the past year for me was Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness."
Of course, I would have to fudge a little bit on "the age of wisdom." Outside of that, that sums up my past year very nicely. Just when you think everything is going smoothly, there is a little unexpected bump in the road.
The other way around is also true. Just when you think all you have are bumps in the road, you hit a smooth patch and you do not really know what to do.
Take Thanksgiving, for example. Throughout the year I had managed (under some very strict supervision from you know who) to lose around 5 pounds. I was celebrating this loss quite jubilantly. That is, until the Thanksgiving dinner.
Hiding behind the roast turkey on our Thanksgiving dinner table were the 5 pounds I had lost during the year. They quite conveniently hid their presence from me but that was not the worst of it. Not only were they hiding behind the roast turkey, but also they had assembled relatives. For some reason these "pounds" heard that relatives were invited to the Thanksgiving dinner.
I do not know how it happened; but it happened. The "pounds" I lost, I have found and they brought relatives with them. I am not sure I want to complain at this point because I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Everybody should rejoice when they find something that they lost, but I am too stuffed now to really rejoice. I feel a little nap coming on.
This whole year has been like that. I get happy about something I lost and then I find it. I get happy about something I found and then I lose it.
This year my "age of wisdom" was soundly out maneuvered by my "age of foolishness."
As I reflected on this I thought about what the apostle Paul said. "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do" (Romans 7:19).
I have come to the point where I believe that "the worst of times" is designed by God to show me how wonderful "the best of times" are. I rest on the marvelous truth that my life is not in "the times" but in the gracious hand of God.