As We Move from 2022 to 2023
I feel that I must start off by giving a sincere word of thanks. Over the past week, as I have had Covid, I have been inundated with kind messages, calls, and emails. I wanted so badly to be with you all during Christmas- but Covid’s bad timing had something else in mind. Despite not being able to physically be there, I watched online, and through the many messages I received, I was reminded of the warm generosity and hospitality that exists within this family. So, I thank you all.
Missing Christmas, and ending the year with Covid, wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. But as I think about it, very seldom do plans work out as anticipated. That seems to be the theme of 2022 for me. This year was one more in a series of rocky years. One that continued to strain from the path of “normalcy” as we attempted to navigate back towards familiarity. We began the year still in the grips of Covid protocols and have ended it remembering that we are not fully out of the woods yet. Perhaps the best way to describe this past year was a year of uncertainty.
As our eyes turn to the new year, I want to once more step into the past. This time to Christmas Day 1939. England was at the start of World War Two then. The prospect of winning the war did not look promising in late ’39. England was feeling more and more isolated- in short, a feeling of uncertainty was permeating England. On Christmas Day, King George approached a BBC microphone to deliver a hopeful Christmas message. This message he knew, needed to do more than speak to the day, but provide hope for the new year that could only guarantee hardships.
The words that came to mind were from a poem. A family friend, Minnie Louise Haskins, had written him a letter when the war was first declared, trying to provide encouragement. In his address to the nation, out poured Mrs. Haskin’s poem of encouragement,
“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the 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.’
So, I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”
As you stand at the gate of the new year, I wish you happiness, peace, love, and hope in 2023. Who knows what this new year has it store, I pray its better than the last. But whatever the new year has in store, may we all find the courage to “tread safely into the unknown” and into the hand of God who is waiting for us.
Paul M. Freeman