Philips Brooks, who gave us “O Little Town of Bethlehem” for Christmas, has given us another gift for the New Year. Discovering in his own experience that life was too short to nurse grievances, harbor grudges, remain resentful, he made this confession to his congregation:
You who are letting miserable misunderstandings run on from year to year, meaning to clear them up some day;
you who are keeping wretched quarrels alive because you cannot quite make up your mind that now is the day to sacrifice your pride and forgive;
you who are passing someone. . . not speaking . . . out of some spite, and yet knowing that it would fill you with shame and remorse if you heard that the other died this morning;
you who are letting your friend’s heart ache for a word of appreciation or sympathy which you mean to give someday;
if you only could know and see and feel, all of a sudden, that time is short, how it would break the spell! How you would go instantly and do the thing which you might never have another chance to do.
Here’s to a New Year and a New Slate. An opportunity to start afresh, mend bridges and heal rifts. “Behold,” says the Spirit of Life, “I am making all things new!”