Yes, today is Christmas.  Yes, if you haven’t already, will be gathering with the family, opening presents, eating that wonderful Christmas dinner.  However, just as soon is Christmas is over people begin making New Year’s Eve plans.  We gather together again with friends and family.  We hunker down around that clock as it approaches midnight ready to bring in the New Year on a good note.  For many of us we will be looking forward to celebrating all that this year was.  For some of us, we will be glad to see this year finally coming to an end as it was filled with disappointments, hardships, and/or sorrow.  And all of us will be looking into the New Year with hope.
The New Year is always filled with hope.  The hope of losing those 10 lbs we gained over the holidays.  The hope of finally quitting whatever it is you needed to quit.  The hope of a new job.  The hope of a new house.  The hope of a new child, grandchild, etc.  This hope is why many of us are gathering together on Saturday night.  We are hopeful that next year will bring to us our dreams, our wishes, our wants.  We are hopeful that next year is the best year ever.
And yet, in the midst of this celebration about hope, many start the year off with regret.  A regret made possible by allowing a certain visitor into their life.  This visitor encourages them to do things that they wouldn’t normally do.  This visitor is widely believed to be the life of the party and it is why he is always invited.  This visitor is thought to bring laughter, joy, good times, and that without him parties, and life itself is thought to be a drag.  Enough time spent with this visitor leads many to engage in activities that bring regret.  This visitor has been THE reason why people have cheated on their spouses.  He is the reason some have physically hurt others.  He is the reason why many have said, no more.  I won’t invite him over any more.  And yet, the next time there is a party, a gathering of friends.  He is there and many continue to spend time with him.
Consider a wise man’s opinion about this visitor.  “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long “with our visitor“; those who go to “our visitor”  Do not look at “upon him,“  when “he looks so smooth.”  In the end he bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. "They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must “hang with him again (Prov. 23:29-35).””  The bold, italicized were adapted to make a point.  If this person is the life of the party, and every time you hang our with him you end up having wounds without cause, bloodshot eyes, and got in constant fights is this really a friend you would want to be around?  Believe me, my friends don’t cause me to feel beat up and worn down every time I get around them.  (Unless I am at boot camp, that is a different story altogether). 
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this visitor is alcohol.  Every year alcohol is invited to someone’s party.  Every year someone has too much to drink.  And every year someone who wanted to start the year off on the right foot ends up making a foolish mistake and is left with some regrets.  I have seen my fair share of holiday movies that depict some “office party” hook up like it doesn’t matter that someone is being awfully familiar with someone that is not their husband or wife.  These scenes exist in movies because they are happening in real life. 
My adivce to you on Saturday night is don’t invite the visitor into your life.  Yes, all the commercials make it sound like it isn’t a party until he arrives, but his parties often end up being the type of party that you really don’t want to be around in the first place.

Grinnell church of Christ
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Bring in the New Year on the Right Foot

The Light
Volume 7 Issue 50