Posted by: rcottrill | January 23, 2012

Another Year Is Dawning

Words: Frances Ridley Havergal (b. Dec. 14, 1836; d. June 3, 1879)
Music: Aurelia, by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (b. Aug. 14, 1810; d. Apr. 19, 1876)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Frances Havergal has given us two fine New Year’s hymns. You will find a link to the other at the Wordwise Hymns link. And if you’re looking for hymns for that occasion, consider also Fanny Crosby’s How Sweet the Hour, here. Samuel Wesley, the composer of this excellent tune, was the grandson of prominent hymn writer Charles Wesley.

Many churches I know–at least in years gone by–have held a Watchnight Service to welcome in each new year. A time for testimonies and for prayer, and perhaps including a devotional challenge from the pastor. Failing this, the last Sunday of the old year, or the first of the new, is often designated as New Year’s Sunday, with a similar emphasis. This hymn provides a beautiful prayer for the occasion.

What kinds of things do you pray for as the new year approaches? In Miss Havergal’s hymn there is a long list of great things Christians should be seeking, focusing particularly on spiritual growth and fruitfulness. Let’s look at it stanza by stanza.

CH-1) Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

What would our lives be like in the coming days if our priorities were:

Living consciously each day in the presence of God (Ps. 23:4)
“Proving” His presence by trust and obedience, and seeing Him work
Progressing and growing in our Christian lives.
Living and serving to His praise and glory?

CH-2) Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

What would it be like to consistently experience:

A year of God’s mercies, faithfulness and grace
The joy found in knowing Him and serving Him
The intimacy of close fellowship with Him (cf. Jn. 13:23)
The restful security of trusting Him, day by day?

CH-3) Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in heaven, another year for Thee.

What would it be like to be committed to:

Active service, according to the gifts and opportunities He gives (I Pet. 4:10)
More instruction from the Word, and training in His service?

What would it be like if you and a number of Christians in your local church made a similar commitment? We don’t know how much time the Lord will give us? Whether He will call us home individually within the next twelve months, or whether the time will come for the whole church to be caught up into His presence (I Thess. 4:16-17). Can we say with the Apostle Paul, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21)? Will it be, in the words of our hymn, “On earth, or else in heaven, another year with Thee”?

Sadly, it can be said of many professing Christians, “All seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:21). But if our churches are to make an impact on our communities, we will need more believers with the kind of dedication expressed by Frances Havergal.

Questions:
1) What “New Year’s Resolutions” have you made (or will you make) for this year?

2) What are one or two mentioned in the hymn that you can ask the Lord for grace to fulfil in your life in the coming days?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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