The cartoon highlights the front page of the paper: old Father Time meeting the baby New Year at the beginning of another year.

As they meet and pass each other, I wonder what words went between them? Did Father Time wish the new year well? Did he offer the baby New Year words of wisdom? Did the New Year ask about the past? Did baby New Year seek Father Time’s opinion?

I’d like to think that the baby New Year sought advice from the past, in order to better understand the future. I’d like to believe that Father Time shared his wisdom with the young New Year.

If I, or you, were Father Time, what words of wisdom might we share with a younger generation?

HASTEN SLOWLY! Time, designed by God, marches to its own measured beat. The secret of a healthy, stress-free, life is to keep in step with Time.

At times, Time races swiftly. Sometimes, we are slow to change and lose sight of Time. At times, Time plods slowly. Sometimes, we are in a rush to get where we’re going.

Life would go more smoothly if we could learn to keep pace with Time, whether swiftly or slowly. Hasten slowly!

LISTEN TO THE GRASS GROW! God gave us this world, and filled it with beauty and wonder. Let’s learn to take time, or make time, to see and hear and smell and feel and experience the fullness of God’s good earth.

Let the grass grow; and make time to enjoy it! Let life happen; and take time to appreciate it! Let change occur; and use the changes in life to make life better for all God’s people!

LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS! Things can never bring us happiness, or peace, or love, or hope. Only people have the ability to provide these life-gifts. Let’s learn to love people; and not use them or abuse them!

Let’s learn to use things; and not love them or worship them! Let’s praise God for giving us things to use and people to love!

THE BEST IN LIFE IS FREE! God’s love for us is free. Our love for one another should be given, and received, freely with no strings attached. God’s grace is free! God is gracious and generous, and showers us with mercy and blessings.

We should be gracious in our dealings with others; offering hospitality, and being generous, to each person we meet along life’s way.

God’s forgiveness is free! The more of our sins God forgives, the more we should forgive those who sin against us.

God’s joy is free! Heaven, the place where God is, is a rollicking, joy-filled place. Earth, too, can be that kind of place.

God’s peace is free! Since God has already put down Mr. Sin and Mr. Death, and has taken away their power, we have nothing to fear. With God, we have peace.

God’s hope is free! God is the Ruler of the past, the present, and the future. God has promised to walk with us from the present into the future; and has promised us a life a million times greater than this present one.

God always keeps his promises! This is our hope!

By Don Kuehle

(Dr. Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist pastor in Missouri.)

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