Happy 2016!

Happy New Year!  This is the day we look forward and contemplate the year ahead, making resolutions about the changes we’d like to make and planning for the future.

Along with the custom of making New Year’s resolutions is the custom of saying that they are futile, what with the bondage of the will and everything.  But we don’t have to invest them with big moral significance, nor turn them into grandiose self-improvement exercises with little chance of lasting.  Changes happen over the course of the year, and we might as well direct a few of them. [Read more…]

Make your predictions for 2016

Yesterday we looked at our predictions for 2015.  Today we give our predictions for 2016.  What do you think will happen in the year ahead?

To win our annual blog contest for best prediction, make your prediction as specific as possible.  For example, our recent winner, Joe, didn’t just say that we’d have an oversupply of oil or that the price of oil would come down.  He said that the price of oil would drop to $35 per barrel.  Also, the predictions that stand out the most are those that seemed at the time to be unlikely, and yet, they come to pass.  When Joe made his prediction exactly a year ago, oil was going for $60.

This can be a salutary exercise in any event, whether you win or even enter our contest.  This is an election year, which promises extra drama.  (Who will be the nominees?  Can the Republican party prevent Donald Trump from being its standard bearer?  Can any of these candidates beat Hillary Clinton?  If so, who?)  I’ll make a few predictions of my own after the jump. [Read more…]

Happy Circumcision & Name of Jesus Day!

I hope you had a big celebration last night and stayed up past midnight to see in the big holiday today.  Namely, the commemoration of the circumcision and naming of Jesus, a ceremony that took place one week after His birth.  To honor the occasion–and, oh, yes, it’s also New Year’s Day, isn’t it?–I am reposting something I wrote back in 2009:

Today is. . . the ancient feast celebrating The Circumcision and Name of Jesus. The week after Christmas, the Christchild was circumcised, thus taking upon Himself the fulfillment of the Law, a rite in which He was also officially given His name.

“Jesus” means “God saves” (literally, to put it even stronger, “YHWH saves”). Notice how the very name of Jesus attests to His divinity and to the Gospel.

Several years ago, we went to church on New Years Day and heard one of the most memorable sermons on the Name of Jesus. The pastor went through the different places in the Bible that talks about doing things “in the name of Jesus,” then bringing in the meaning of that name, that God saves. We are told to pray in the name of Jesus, because “God saves” gives us full access to the Father. When even two or three meet in the name of Jesus, He is with them, because “God saves” makes a new kind of worship possible. Disciples could cast out demons in Jesus’ name; that is, in the reality that “God saves.” At the name of Jesus, “God saves,” every knee shall bow and every tongue that Jesus is LORD. (Try that correlation yourself in your own devotions.)

via The Name of Jesus.

This is also a fitting contemplation for  the new year ahead.  So happy New Year’s, everybody!  May 2015 be a good and blessed year for all of you!.

Make your predictions for 2015

Now it’s time for you to make your predictions about what is going to happen in the new year that begins today.  Then, on New Year’s Eve of 2015, we will review them to see who is the most far-sighted prognosticator.

Again, the more specific, out-of-the-blue, and surprising predictions fare best.  The example I keep giving is tODD, who a few years ago predicted the death of North Korea’s dictator , Kim Jong-Il, and the ascension of his unlikely son, Kim Jong-Un.  I don’t believe Kim Jong-Il was even sick at the time of the prediction, so it was quite a stunning guess.  (Then again, no one last year predicted that Kim Jong-Un would be associated with a hack of a major Hollywood studio in a first successful and then unsuccessful attempt to kill a crude comedy about assassinating said dictator.  If anyone had made such a prediction, the trophy would be retired.  Instead, reg won with his prediction that the United States would normalize relations with Cuba, which is plenty specific, out-of-the-blue, and surprising.

See yesterday’s reward post and the New Year’s Day prediction post it links to, to show you what we’re looking for.  Then predict away!

Looking backwards, looking forwards

The week building up to New Year’s is a good time to look back at the year that has passed.  We’ll be doing that on this blog over the next week, among other things, with your help.  Then we’ll look forward to the new year ahead.  And that will bring us to a celebrated and notorious feature of this blog:  the year’s predictions.  On New Year’s Eve, we will check the predictions that you readers made last year and see who takes the virtual prize of glory for the most astute prognostication that came true.  Then on New Year’s Day, we will make predictions for 2014, which will be checked on the last day of that year (if we last that long).  So be thinking about what’s going to happen!

Happy New Year!

As the country, like a nation of lemmings,  parties its way off the fiscal cliff, let us all wish each other a lucky 2013!

That doesn’t sound very hopeful.  Let’s try that again.  Have a blessed New Year!  “My times are in your hand” (Psalm 31:15).


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