Here are a few thoughts about the new year gleaned from Garrison Keillor’s daily radio feature, The Writer’s Almanac:
“English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote: ‘Ring out the old, ring in the new / Ring, happy bells, across the snow / The year is going, let him go / Ring out the false, ring in the true.’
“Here in the United States, the custom of raising and dropping a giant ball arose out of the time when signals were given to ships at harbor. Starting in 1859, a large ball was dropped at noon every day so sailors could check their ship chronometers.
“The Times Square celebration dates back to 1904, when The New York Times opened its headquarters on Longacre Square. The newspaper convinced the city to rename the area ‘Times Square,’ and they hosted a big party, complete with fireworks, on New Year’s Eve. Some 200,000 people attended, but the paper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, wanted the next celebration to be even splashier. In 1907, the paper’s head electrician constructed a giant lighted ball that was lowered from the building’s flagpole.
“Other cities have developed their own ball-dropping traditions. Atlanta, Georgia, drops a giant peach. Eastport, Maine, drops a sardine. Ocean City, Maryland, drops a beach ball, and Mobile, Alabama, drops a 600-pound electric Moon Pie. In Tempe, Arizona, a giant tortilla chip descends into a massive bowl of salsa.”
Here’s where I [Kevin] hope you do NOT “drop the ball” in the coming year. Please don’t give up on praying and working for the church. Keep on serving the Lord and giving Him the glory for all things. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). May God bless you richly in 2014.