Thursday, January 3, 2013

Auld Lang Syne

"Happy New Year," and, "Happy, 'Auld Lang Syne,'" to you all!  A few nights ago on New Year's Eve, I enjoyed a fun, late night out with my husband in celebration.  We partook of our usual enjoyments--dinner out (with the borderline gluttonous consumption of beef, of course) and live music.  At midnight, the traditional song, "Auld Lang Syne," was not played, but I was reminded of it due to the occasion.  Being a devout film-lover, I also recalled a scene from the old movie, "When Harry Met Sally."  At the end of the flick, while standing in the middle of an extravagant New Year's Eve party, Harry (Billy Crystal), tells Sally (Meg Ryan), of his love for her in a grand and romantic climax.  If I'm remembering accurately, Sally breaks down in tears, admits her love in return, and they seal the conversation with a passionate kiss in true, "Rom Com" form.  It's all very predictable and cliche`, but who are we kidding?  We love it and it sells.  The scene ends with the song, "Auld Lang Syne," playing cheerfully in the background.  Harry comments comically to Sally that he doesn't know what the song means, and for his entire life he has never known!  She agrees, but says she knows it has something to do with, "old friends."  Again, tear-jerker moment for those of us who cry at sappy commercials and sentimental greeting cards. 

Why I pulled this scene out of the archives of my mind I do not know--haven't watched it in years.  But it hit me that I, too, have no idea what all the words to that old song are or what they truly mean.  In doing some quick research, I discovered that the song was mostly written by a Scotsman named, Robert Burns, in 1788 (apparently some of the lyrics, namely verse one, were "collected" or borrowed from James Watson's version in 1711).  But Burns was a famous, beloved poet and lyricist who has long been named, "the national poet of Scotland."  His poetry is regarded worldwide, and many have said that in homes where good literature is in small quantity, even a copy of Burns' poetry sits on a shelf with The Bible.  The title, "Auld Lang Syne," when translated to English, means, "old long since," or "days gone by."  It is loosely translated as, "for old times."  The complete words to the traditional old tune are as follows:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind,
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne...
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup,
and surely I’ll buy mine,
And we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine,
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,  
from morning sun till dine,
But seas between us broad have roared,

since auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend,
and give us a hand of thine,
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

On New Year's Eve at midnight, you typically only hear verse one and the chorus.  But in reading all of the song's lyrics, clearly the tune is about, old times, old friends, good times, hard times, and remembering it all.  My husband, Matt, and I, have a tradition on New Year's Eve (or sometime around the New Year) of sharing what our greatest memories of the passing year were, as well as, the most difficult memories.  I think the reason we have always done that has a great deal to do with the lyrics to this old song.  There is something special and important about, "remembering."  It is also a very healing and good thing to share and recognize the good and the bad through which God has brought you in a given year.  It gives you a great deal of joy and thankfulness, as well as, a realization that time goes by very quickly.  It is also a great trust and faith-builder to look back and see what God has done in your life.  Recalling even the trying times through which He has brought you gives you a great sense of His trustworthiness and faithfulness.  Many say that New Year's Eve is just another day.  This is true when you look at it from a basic calendar perspective.   However, the passing from one year to the next is an important time-stamp, in my view.  The way I see it, if the Good Lord has seen fit to let me see another year, that's a pretty big deal.  It warrants some celebration, reflection, and gratitude.

As I look back over the past year and the friendships and memories with which God has richly blessed me, I marvel at His generosity.  It is easy to see the negative in our lives when you're in the threshold of daily living and the ritualistic grind.  We all have struggles and prayer items for which we are still, "in waiting."  But when we take the time to honestly focus on the blessings, the positive, and the overall hand of God in our lives over the course of a given year, it's impossible to not lift up praise to Him.  Furthermore, and most importantly, when we ponder the life-altering truth of what Christ did for us on the cross in His, "Auld Lang Syne," it becomes easy to sing with cheer, "We'll take a cup of kindness yet, for Auld Lang Syne."  Happy 2013 to old friends and new! And may God bless and keep you always in His will until we meet again!

Great verses for the New Year:

1 Peter 1:3, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..."

Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!"

Lamentations 3:22-23, "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."