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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Today’s Reading | Ecclesiastes 3:1–13

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with.

He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. (NRSV)

What a wonderful passage for the final day of 2015 as we prepare to welcome a new year. God has made everything suitable for its time—birth, death, embracing, silence, love, and much more. The writer asks, “What gain have the workers from their toil?” Looking back over the past year, there have been times when gains seem few, but thanks be to God there are so many signs of hope.

Gun violence and injustice make the headlines. Feeding the poor, sheltering the homeless, reaching out to the grief stricken and frightened—these are the acts that change lives. When we provide a “cup of cool water” we bring comfort. When we help a child work through a daunting homework assignment we bring a glimpse of a brighter future. When we provide a time of worship that is less formal, like the 4:00 on Sunday afternoon, we reach folks that might not otherwise attend a worship service. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

God of all times and all things, help us to be thankful for all that you have done for us this past year. Help us be grateful for the many gifts that come from you. Amen.

Written by Roger Wilson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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