Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?
We two have run about the hills and pulled the daisies fine;
We’ve wandered many a weary foot since auld lang syne.
—Robert Burns

Auld Lang Syne has been called the best-known song that no one actually knows the words to—not surprising for a ballad sung under the influence of cheap champagne, fish eggs, gaudy party hats and Guy Lombardo.

Penned by the famous Scottish bard Robert Burns in the late-1700’s, Auld Lang Syne (literally: bygone days) is a melancholy salute to the good old days of youth, love, freedom and adventure, and to the enduring friendships that somehow survive the assaults of time.

As we gaze into the approaching fog of 2004, it’s easy to become caught up in a very human nostalgia for what used to be, not to mention a dread of what we cannot yet see. It’s easy to become pessimistic about the future, with so many global uncertainties—war, terrorism, famine, disease—and personal worries—love, work, health, money. Life is taut with the unrelenting tension between beginnings and endings, risk and reward, discovery and loss, birth and death. Even the earth itself is careening through uncharted expanses of space and time—none of us can say with any certainty what lies ahead.

Where do we put our faith and trust? Auld Lang Syne celebrates friendship and love, qualities that have a remarkable resilience in the midst of change and uncertainty.

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty friend, and give’s a hand of thine!
We’ll take a right goodwill toast for auld lang syne.

Friendship and love: even these can be bittersweet. We know too well that the surest friendship sometimes cracks under the strains of life, and the deepest love sometimes proves itself too fragile to endure. Our human experience makes us long for something more permanent—but what? Who?

There is no friend as constant and sure as the God of Judaism, the God of Christianity, the one God of heaven and earth. He calls himself Eternal God, Everlasting God, the God who was, and is, and always will be.

Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:28-31, NLT

In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out. —John 1:1-5, CEV

I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of water of life without charge! All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. —Revelation 21:6,7, NLT (God speaking)

The old year has come to an end; a new year has begun. The supermarket tabloids will play on our fears by making predictions, but the future has not been revealed to us. It may bring great joy; it may bring great suffering.

Whatever the case may be, we can live in confident assurance and unfailing hope by learning to trust the eternal and loving God, the God who never changes, the God who keeps his promises, the God who wants to be our friend in this life and the next.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. —Hebrews 13:8, NLT

May the Eternal Creator of heaven and earth reveal his love to you, and may this New Year be a time of discovering the faithful and enduring friendship of Jesus Christ.

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