Happy New Year 2012 AD

What a blessing to be given a new year. May we each be grateful to God, and intentional in making the most of our time (Psalm 90:12 & Ephesians 5:15-16).

As for “celebrating” — I’m glad we do so! Here is a bit of timely background from Dr George Grant from his blog:

The celebration of the New Year did not occur on the first day of January until after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582—and even then only in France, the northern Italian city states, Portugal, and in the Spanish nations of Castile and Aragon. The new calendar was not accepted until 1600 in Scotland and 1752 in England and America.

From the earliest days of the Roman imperial calendar the New Year was celebrated on March 25—which is why September, October, November, and December are derived from the Latin words septem (seven), octo (eight), novem (nine), and decem (ten).

Throughout Christendom, January 1 was instead celebrated as a day of renewal midway through the Yuletide season—it was thus a day for vows, vision, and vocation. It was on this day that guild members took their annual pledge, that husbands and wives renewed their marriage promises, and that young believers reasserted their resolution to walk in the grace of the Lord’s great Epiphany.

In Edinburgh beginning in the seventeenth century, revelers would gather at the Tron Church to watch the great clock tower mark the last hours of Christmastide—which was the inspiration behind the much more recent Times Square ceremony in New York. In Edinburgh, of course, the purpose was not merely to have a grand excuse for a public party, but was a way for the whole covenant community to celebrate the grace of Epiphany newness.

My Reading Report on 2010

Well, another year has ended, and by God’s grace I can report it was a fruitful year of reading! My goal (the first of its kind for me) was to read a book a week (or 52 books by year’s end) OUTSIDE of my regular pastoral reading of commentaries, online/print periodicals, and, reference works.

I tend to start lots of books, reading at a time, but not always finishing a book (sometimes intentionally). I wondered if my goal would be a help or a hindrance. I can say now it was a huge help, motivating my to make better use of free time (and reduce time spent online or in other less profitable pursuits).

For fun, I set up a spreadsheet to track my reading in 2010. Here are some of the statistical highlights

• 84 books were started, representing 25,302 pages!
• 27 books (including the ESV Bible) were completed!
• over 10,382 pages (in all books) were read!
• the longest book was 950 pages, one was 35 pages

As for particulars on a few of the books…

0f spiritual profit (in addition to reading the whole BIBLE) was:
* Sinclair Ferguson’s BY GRACE ALONE
* Tullian Tchividian’s UNFASHIONABLE
* Marcus Loane’s JESUS HIMSELF

My ministry was enhanced by reading:
* Tony Payne’s THE TRELLIS AND THE VINE
* Tim Keller’s PRODIGAL GOD
* WHY WE LOVE THE CHURCH by DeYong & Kluck
* PASTORAL MINISTRY by the Puritan Richard Baxter

My enjoyment of history was well satisfied by:
* TROUBLESOME YOUNG MEN by Lynne Olson (about how Winston Churchill came to power,
* THEODORE REX by Edmund Morris [I’ve already started the third/final volume, COLONEL ROOSEVELT]

The new year begins with my now owning a KINDLE — and trying it out for some of my reading. So far, it’s very good!

May we all read to improve our minds, and to better love and serve our great and gracious God!
pdb