Posted by: owizblog | December 31, 2018

New Year – Sofa, So Good; Thought For The Day, BBC Radio Scotland, 31 December 2018

One year, I saw in the New Year in the air. It would be 1965, and I was seven. It was a short flight – probably just over two seconds. I landed with a thump, and got a huge row for giving everyone in the room such a fright. But the idea of leaping off the arm of the sofa at the stroke of midnight, so that you are in the air as one year turns into the next is just so cool, when you’re seven.

There’s something very human about wanting a new year to be a clean break. Why else do we make New Year’s Resolutions? New Year – New Me.

But then, there’s First-Footing. Going from house to house, celebrating ties, relationships, renewing old friendships, neighbourliness, belonging.

This New Year business – it’s complicated stuff. Resolutions, First-Footing; a break from what we were, what we felt was holding us back, but also continuity and renewal and relationship.

Big themes – and not just on an individual level. These are likely to continue to be the prominent themes in our whole society in 2019.

And they’re profoundly human themes that my own Christian tradition has wrestled with for two millennia. There’s the story of Zacchaeus, tax-collector, swindler. His encounter with Jesus offers him forgiveness, his clean break – but he grasps instantly that this means making restitution, mending his relationships with the people he’s hurt.

On the one hand, liberation, separation, from our past, with its false steps, regrets – the clean break. Absolution. Forgiveness.

On the other hand, mending what had been broken, healing, renewing of relationships. Redemption. Forgiveness.

They belong together. We need both. To live with ourselves, we have to be able to live with others. To live with others, we have to be able to live with ourselves. If you’ve yet to make your New Year’s Resolutions, that mightn’t be a bad place to start. Relationships. None of us is an isolated individual suspended in mid-air. I learned that in 1965.

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