When we stop to think about it, birthdays and New Year’s connote the same things, don’t they? On each, we commend yet another year of our personal annuls into the vault of history and open a fresh journal of empty pages awaiting living ink. So why is it we celebrate the one day so cheerfully yet approach the other more apprehensively? New Year’s Day is actually aspirational for us—a time of hope, a time of resolve, a new beginning of sorts. Our birthday, however, even though it likewise records another lap around the sun and the inauguration of a fresh one, greets us as a sober reminder of the brevity of life; we muse a bit more and enthuse a bit less.
Occasional reflection on the passage of time is a healthy thing, and the anniversaries in our lives serve as great reminders for us to pull off to the side of the road, consider our life journey, seek Divine direction, and adjust course as we are led. It was to this end, perhaps, that Moses implored of God, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). He had learned the enduring value of fresh perspective.
We reach a point in life when it doesn’t take a lot of “numbering” to figure out our own “omega” on this Earth is considerably closer than our “alpha” here. And with this realization grows a burning desire that each remaining day would count for the good of others and the glory of God. This is His desire as well, so we can be certain He will continue to work His will through us. Even when we fail, we need not be discouraged, for each lap around the sun consists of many new revolutions around the axis, each day of brevity abounding in new opportunity to share God’s love, truth and grace all around us.
Lord, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Amen.