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Ann Farabee: Happy new year

Each year, I reminisce about some of my New Year’s Eve experiences:

The first 22 were most likely spent in the home where I grew up. I really don’t remember them, though. (I’m still trying to figure out why I threw my diary away!)

Approximately 10+ years as an adult were spent in church, where we worshipped until past midnight, while my children fell asleep on the floor or curled up on the seats. (Great memories!)

Four New Year’s Eve celebrations, dating back to 1986, were spent with my acquaintance, Pneumonia. (Definitely not my friend!)

Some were celebrated watching the ‘ball’ drop in NYC Times Square. (On TV, of course!)

In recent years, I have discovered that the new year will arrive whether I am awake or not, so I go to sleep prior to midnight. (Those in my area of town usually politely inform me that it is midnight by setting fireworks off.)

My funniest memory of New Year’s Eve is when my 18-year-old daughter went on a date to celebrate the Year 2000’s arrival. (Remember, the year our computers were all going to crash at 12:00?) The young couple surprised us by arriving home at 11:45, and I still remember the look on her date’s face when he told us he wanted to be with us, in case Jesus returned at the stroke of midnight.

Of course … we all want a Happy New Year! A new year gives us new hope. Hope that maybe the upcoming year will be trouble free, simple, and easy. John 16:33 clears that idea right up for us: In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

So, can all our years be happy? Yes. Even though some years seem more difficult, we have to look in that one special spot – inside our hearts. Joy and happiness is right there, reminding us of our inward peace and everlasting contentment. No matter the difficult and sometimes overwhelming circumstances that take place in our earthly years – we know that the joy of the Lord gives us strength.

Psalm 144:15 tells us that happy are the people whose God is the Lord. The words of this song, Happiness Is, by Ira Stanphill, are a great reminder of that truth:

Happiness is to know the Savior, Living a life within His favor, Having a change in my behavior, Happiness is the Lord.

Happiness is a new creation, Jesus and me in close relation, Having a part in His salvation, Happiness is the Lord.

Real joy is mine, no matter if teardrops start, I found the secret, It’s Jesus in my heart!

Happiness is to be forgiven, Living a life that’s worth the living, Taking a trip that leads to Heaven, Happiness is the Lord!

That puts it in perspective, doesn’t it? Until I received the happiness of the Lord through my salvation, real joy was not mine!

I am thankful for 2016 – the good and the not-so-good!

And … in the midst of it all, I can still praise Jesus as I sing:

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands … (I am smiling as I envision all my readers clapping your hands, as we praise God together!)

God is good. We. Are. Blessed.

Welcome to 2017. Yes, it will be a Happy New Year!

Ann Farabee has taught in Kannapolis City Schools and Mooresville Schools. Contact her at annfarabee@gmail.com or visit annfarabee.com

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