On New Year's Eve, people will ring in the new year in different ways. In some countries, there will be fireworks; in others, there will be public celebrations in city squares or parks; and there will be family gatherings in private homes. Some of us will just be together at home. For many people, it is a very nostalgic time, a time of reflection and remembering, and also a time of looking forward.
In a devotional booklet that we are reading this year, we learned that at one time, it was tradition among Reformed families in the Netherlands to read Psalm 90 on New Year's Eve. Personally, I don't recall that tradition. December 31st was my mother's birthday, and we always had a lot of company on that day. In the evening, we would go to church, and after that, more family members would come to celebrate my mother's birthday. We would go to church again on January 1st in the morning. Nevertheless, many people would read Psalm 90 before midnight on "Oudejaars Avond" — "Old Year's Evening".
Psalm 90:1-2 – Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (NKJV)
One of the parents would read this psalm and then a few words would be said, perhaps about their ancestors, or the year that was about to end. They would remember the good times and the bad during the year and would consider how God had been with them during that time. They would remember new births and the passing on of others.
The changing of the year is a good time to recall things past. It is a good time to remember that God was with our parents and grandparents and with generations past. But also, God is with us now — God is from everlasting to everlasting. It is good to ask the Lord to "teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12 NKJV)
The words of Psalm 90 have survived the centuries and will last through the ages. A lot of things have disappeared, times and habits have changed, but God is the same: was, is, and always will be. We can depend on God from generation to generation.
Psalm 90:16-17 – Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands. (NKJV)
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we remember the year past, our parents and grandparents, our children and grandchildren, we pray that they and all people will be aware of the fact that You are our God, and that You were with us and are with us even now. We are thankful indeed. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "For Thy Mercy And Thy Grace" (Lyrics)