Goodbye Old Friend!

Greetings of "Happy New Year!" are being shared everywhere I go these days after Christmas. And you will also hear this expression, "Out with the old and in with the new!"as we transition from 2018 into 2019. Just a few weeks ago, I had some dental surgery and I was sharing that phrase with family and friends, but I meant something quite different. I had my "Old #19" tooth extracted and now, I'm healing as I wait for a new bridge in the new year!

"Old #19" had served me well over the many years. I have had it worked on a few times: root canal, post implanted, silver cap applied, and then a filling drilled into it as well. There wasn't much else to do with it when it recently was diagnosed with a fracture that resulted in an infection. Three specialists and my general dentists appraised it and said, "It's got to go!" I pushed back initially, "You guys are supposed to save teeth!" And they replied, "This one is beyond saving! Let go of it! We can strengthen your other two teeth with that bridge." So... on January 10th at approximately, 10AM, I bid "#19" a sweet goodbye!

As you enter this New Year, to what are you bidding a goodbye? Every year there are unpleasant experiences that require us to let go of some things before we can embrace the new that is before us. We speak of "getting closure" and "living lighter" about this time of the year. We are sorting through all those highs and lows, ups and downs, and the joyous as well as the painful encounters that comprised 2018. As we take inventory, we are hopeful that this next year is "better," whatever that means.

Are you giving thanks as you reflect? It's human nature to remember the unpleasant things rather than recall the pleasant ones. Let's work on the opposite. The Psalmist reminds us, "Praise... Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever" (Ps. 106:1). 

Embracing the new often requires turning loose of those things that can spiritually handicap us. Too often, this negative baggage has been a part of our lives a lot longer than just the previous year. Paul advises, "Forgetting (and I might add, "forgiving" as well) what is behind... I press on" (Philippians 3:13). Release the power that the past has to hold you back. Let go of guilt, hard feelings, disappointments, and the sins that control you. Allow God's grace to wash over everything negative!

Let's intentionally and prayerfully, "Let go of 2018." It's time to say, "Goodbye Old Friend!" (and maybe "good riddance" to all that wasn't too friendly!) Our hope is in the One who proclaims, "Behold, I am making everything new!" (Revelation 21:5). Walk in confident faith with God into the newness of this new year!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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