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New Year's Reflections

Cory T. Wilson is a Moss Point native and Madison attorney with Heidelberg Steinberger Colmer & Burrow, P.A. You can follow Cory on Twitter, @CoryWilsonMS, or email cory@corywilson.ms.

Well, in the lyrics of the immortal John Lennon Christmas song, “another year over, and a new one just begun.”
This time of year gets me reflecting on the year behind, and the year ahead. Maybe that is a result of the traditions of Christmas. Maybe it is the realization that twelve months go pretty fast, and faster each year.
I am not a big New Year’s resolution person. I do not really follow those “Biggest/Best/Worst Events/People of the Year” retrospective countdowns that come out every year around now. Most of the stuff the chroniclers of society list as so monumental during 2012 will be forgotten by the time they write the same articles in December 2013.
But I do find myself searching for some time during the holidays to ponder, particularly once the happy chaos of Christmas quiets down a bit. For just a little while, the world slows, breaks routine, reboots.
We need that. We live in a world of constant breaking news. Too much urgent, and not enough important. We would all be better off if we just sat still and took stock more often. “For auld lang syne,” as another haunting classic goes.
More and more of that “auld lang syne” merely seems like distant nostalgia in the second decade of the 21st century. Fiscal cliff, Sandy Hook Elementary, Obamacare, nuclear Iran, Honey Boo Boo. More than most New Year’s, I can remember, a lot of folks are anxious (is the right word “scared”?) about where we are going. The last few New Years have been pretty short on the “happy” part, economically and otherwise, and 2013 seems to herald more of the same. Or worse.
For conservatives, there is the reality of a re-elected Obama, who seems intent to lead by abdicating leadership. For a re-elected Obama, there is the reality of a GOP House majority. Hence the stalemate we see in “solving” the fiscal cliff (while the bigger issues are kicked to another New Year). The era of big government is seemingly ratified. At least until voters get what they voted for.
Most Americans still believe we are headed in the wrong direction. Most think Washington is not up to the task of righting us. One gets the sense that we are sailing in uncharted waters, into rough seas. By the time we get to another Christmas, it may have been another pretty heavy year.
So, back to pondering. I find myself thinking about where we have been, more than where we are going. Not melancholy, or stuck in the past, but mindful that as we embark on a New Year, we might do well to bring along some of the old.
There is something reassuring about times gone by. Music, traditions, and personalities and principles that have stood the test of time are like comfortable old sweatshirts on a rainy winter day. In a world where so much is unsettling, I’ll take such sources of reassurance.
Over the break, we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. We do every year. When I was a kid in the 1970s, I remember how excited I was whenever Charlie Brown came on. I can still remember the graphic CBS used when a “Special” was aired. And I remember the Dolly Madison Zingers commercials that sponsored the show.
Younger readers: a “Special” was a show that interrupted one of the three channels’ usual programming. And, Zingers were awesome cakes (think: frosted Twinkies) made by Dolly Madison, a part of Hostess.
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special actually centers on Christmas. Barely a generation ago, that was unremarkable. Charlie Brown bemoans how commercialized Christmas has become (in 1965), and in response, Linus recites part of Chapter 2 of Luke’s Gospel. The birth of Christ is the central part of the Peanuts Christmas play.
So much for all that. Even Zingers are a thing of the past now that Hostess has gone out of business. Today, the Peanuts gang would have to enroll in private school to read from Luke.
Regardless, here we go into 2013. I am not predicting anything that may happen; not even sure I want to do that.
I can assure you that by next Christmas, Charlie Brown will yet again pick the saddest, most lovable tree on the lot. Linus will recite the gospel according to St. Luke. And, the baby that St. Luke tells us was born on Christmas, the Christ, will still reign.
In a time of urgent, that is most important of all.

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