New YearChristmas is the best time of the year, especially when it involves family. It's the one time of the year that families get together to celebrate together.

Of course, at least from my perspective, it is also the most hectic time of the year. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has an entirely different perspective regarding family get-together time.

This year, we had a special new family member, our second great-grandchild, born a week before Christmas.

As you might imagine, that little one was the center of everybody's attention. Therefore, everybody had to hold the little one at least once.

I could see the little one had absolutely no idea what was happening. Although these were wonderful memories for us, that little one will never remember this time together. But there will be other times, I assure you.

One daughter was taking pictures of just about everyone, which is important. The one picture she took, and I probably was the only one who understood, was between The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and that little great-granddaughter.

The beauty of that picture was there was the oldest and the youngest person in our family together. Don't let her know that I said this because I may not get any older.

It was a fun time, and when it was all over, everybody went home, even the family's newest member. The mother of the new baby had to spend a lot of time wrestling her from the great-grandmother.

That night my wife and I sat together reflecting on our family get-together. As usual, it was a wonderful time, and I'm glad I've lived long enough to enjoy it. Whether I get to another Christmas or not is anybody's guess.

As we sat together drinking hot apple cider, we reflected on the past year, which was a transitional year for us. It's hard for me to pick out the greatest time this past year but if I had to pick one it would be Christmas.

Sighing deeply, I said, "It sure has been a great year, hasn't it?"

Thinking deeply, which is the beginning of trouble, my wife said, "It was a great year." Then, after more deep thought, she continued, "But the New Year is going to be so much better."

Not learning from the past, I replied, "What's so new about the new year?"

She looked at me as though she had never seen me before, and with one of her sarcastic tones, she said, "It's a new year, and everything is going to be new."

"What do you think is going to be new about this coming New Year?" I responded.

"Everything will be new this coming year, and I can't wait to see all the new stuff."

Pausing for a moment, she then said, "Last year, we didn't even know at this time that we were going to have a great-granddaughter. She is new in our family."

Well, she had me on that one for sure. Maybe she was expecting another new great-grandchild this coming year. So I didn't pursue that.

"So," I said rather slowly, "what will be new this coming year?"

"Everything is going to be new this coming year." She said with a smile dancing on her face.

"Except for a new family member," I said to her, "everything this next year is going to be the same."

She could not let me get away with that and said most vehemently, "Everything is going to be new. Trust me."

I had her just about where I wanted her and was very careful in my next steps.

"So, tell me, how many months will there be this coming year?"

Looking at me, she smirked and said, "There will be 12 months this coming year. What are you talking about?"

"Well," I stuttered a little, "weren't there 12 months this past year? This next year we will have the same 12 months as we had last year."

Looking at me, she said, "I think you're getting a little goofy here."

"And," I pursued a little more, "how many days of the week will there be in this new year? Will there be any more than last year?"

She stared at me, not knowing what to say.

"Also, there will still be 24 hours in every day. That's not going to change either."

I paused for a moment and then said, "When is your birthday this coming year?"

She told me and said, "It's the same as it was the last year, you silly boy."

"Oh," I said rather thoughtfully, "your birthday this year is the same as last year, so your birthday isn't new this year."

“But,” she replied, “I will be a year older.”

Looking at her I replied, “Weren’t you a year older this year?”

Finally, she began to understand what I was saying, and looking at me very quizzically, she said, "You sure have a stupid way of looking at things, don't you?"

Then she said something rather startling, "I guess you are right in this."

Well, I was rather stunned because that was new.

Pondering this conversation I was reminded of what wise old Solomon said. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  

The secret to a happy life is enjoying what I have right now.

Rev James Snyder videoDr. James L. Snyder, is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. James is an award winning author whose books are available at

Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail [email protected]. The church web site is

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