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‘Auld lang syne’ literally means ‘old long since’, and for ‘old time’s sake’ is about the closest translation of Burn’s Scottish into modern English, that I can think of. And so the invitation beckons again this New Year’s Eve to raise a cup of kindness with new friends, for old acquaintances. Which is not an unworthy thought, nor an unworthy way to fondly remember the precious gift of friends and family, and to wish them health for the coming year.
The only challenge is that the ‘Rabbie way’ invites us to lift too many cups of kindness (if you follow the song right to the end), which is not wise according to the worthy woman who counselled the king (Proverbs 30), nor sensible according to the king who counselled his sons (Proverbs 23), nor safe according to the patriarch Noah who rued lifting one too many cups of the red stuff (Genesis 9).
When it comes to drinking, John the Baptist didn’t, and the Lord Jesus did. And when it comes to the best drop, Jesus could make the fairest and finest, which He once did to bless a wedding reception. And when it comes to life and joy and friendship, Jesus offers a now that genuine and substantial, and a future that will exceed anything on earth for depth and happiness. Which makes me want to raise a cup on New Year’s Eve not just for auld lang syne, but for the real excitement yet to come.
DM 28th December 2021