Friday 1 January 2016

The Gate of the Year: 2016

From exhilarating highs to the most intense lows, 2015 is a year I won't forget.  

Today, the first day of another new year, we face  — on both personal and collective levels — an uncertain and challenging future.  We can sink into despair at the thought of an ambiguous future … or, scared, perhaps even terrified, at what awaits us in 2016, we can choose to step into the unknown, trusting that the steps we take as we walk the path we’re meant to, will be guided by the light and love of the mysterious Divine.

How we perceive or frame the concept of a Divine presence in our lives does not matter: all that counts is that we choose to walk through the gate of the year into the darkness, trusting that at the end of the year just beginning, fears will be transformed into joys, uncertainty into knowledge, and darkness into a Divine inner peace which passes all human understanding.  

Published in 1908, M Louise Haskins wrote the poem “God Knows” as part of a collection titled THE DESERT. This poem later caught the public attention, and the popular imagination, when the then–Princess Elizabeth handed a copy to her father, King George VI, and he quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire.(1)

My maternal grandfather passed down this poem to my Mom and her siblings, and my Mom passed it on to my sister and I. That poem still resonates today and, as we cross over the threshold from the old year into the new, I find these words as comforting now as I did when, as a child, I was frightened by an uncertain future: 

God Knows
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

May 2016 bring us safely through the dark into a world 
transformed by light and love.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy - I don't think I'd heard of the poem, or Louise Haskins, before watching a programme on the history of the Christmas speech by the Royals over the years from the start of broadcasting in 1922.

So fascinating that you have written out the poem for us to read and for me to remember the programme - which I'd like to watch again.

Love the cartoon - what will the New Year bring ... 365 opportunities ... so so true -

My mother would have loved to hear this and for me to read it out to her and tell her the history ... so glad you and your sister have the poem passed down from your maternal line ... great memories for you both.

Happy New Year .. and definitely here's to lots of opportunities ... cheers Hilary

Bish Denham said...

I'm not familiar with this poem, but it is as poignant and timely now as it was then. That's what makes for good literature/art, isn't it? That across the ages the words/image still resonate in our hearts.

Happy New Year, Judy. May there be peace on earth.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

HILARY: and a wonderful 2016 to you as well! Your Mum would indeed have loved this poem!

BISH: I agree, we live in times as dark as those facing the civilised world in 1939 - perhaps more dangerous as the lines between what constitutes good and evil seem to me more blurred than they were during the time of WWII. I echo your wish: let there be peace and love on this small battered planet of ours.