Retrospective and Prospective
Gospel Advocate, Vol. 74, No. 52, (December 29, 1932).
The old year is dying. The new year is dawning. It is a time for reminiscence and resolution. The one relates to the past, the other to the future. Concerning the former there are some things to be remembered and there are some things to be forgotten. It would be folly to linger either on the summit or in the valley, except as the future may be blessed by reminiscence in the fruit of good resolutions it may yield.
Some one has painted a word picture of an old man, pale and frail, standing on bleak, icy hills, leaning in decrepitude upon the arm of his last surviving but dying child—the Departing December. His sandals are old and worn. And his form is wasted. His name is the Old Year. To us he is Old Man 1932. He belongs to a family whose genealogy presents the world with no two contemporaries. The birth of one is always preceded by the death of the other. And wailing requiems over the death of the old, dying on the air, turn into the songs of lullaby over the cradle of the new.
The old year is gone, but his footprints are left. Many a lovely babe fondled and caressed by a happy, hopeful mother last New Year is not here. Some beautiful girls and bounding boys whose smiles and shouts of laughter enlivened the home a year ago are not with us now. Various articles of personal ownership, now unclaimed—toys, books, clothing, or an empty room—are mute reminders of their presence with us and make us weep anew. An old armchair is empty in the corner—some of us are fatherless and motherless. One and all, they gathered up our affections and carried them away, in consequence of which we love the earth less and heaven more.
No year ever passes without some one dying whom we knew and loved. The name of every succeeding year is engraved upon the marble in our cemeteries, “1933” will be chiseled upon the tombstone that marks the head of some of our graves. Death is an officer that no money can bribe, that no power can resist, that no skill can evade. The pale horse and its rider cross the threshold and waft loved ones away whether in the bloom of youth or in the gray of years, “What is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Life is a vapor. So is the rainbow. So is the fog of the morning. How short and uncertain, then, are our days! “We spend our days as a tale that is told!” What kind of a story are you weaving into the fabric of your life? Whether long or short, it may be worth reading. It is not the length of a life or of a story that makes it worth while. The greatest Life that was ever lived was only thirty-three and one-half years, and the greatest stories ever written are his parables. So we should not stay the stride of time, if we could but labor to make life a story worth reading, whether long or short.