Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day Of Auld Lang Syne

That's pretty much it for 2008. As usual, I finished off my annual reading through the Bible in the last few days - this year it was on December 29, to be exact.

I've done that every year since somewhere in my late teens, so for... well, a long time now. It's actually not difficult. Reading three chapters each day from Monday to Saturday and five chapters on Sunday will take you through in a year. That's not nearly as daunting as it sounds when you consider that many chapters, especially some of the Psalms, are quite short. Yes, some are quite long, too, but I'm trying to be encouraging here.

Of course, I don't necessarily read each chapter in order each year - in fact, I don't think I've ever done that. My program for the last year has been to follow the daily reading in the Our Daily Bread devotionals, published by Radio Bible Class. They're available online at the link, but I prefer the pocket-sized printed booklets. I read the entire chapter for the devotional passage, not just the indicated verses, and then the daily Bible-in-a-year reading (in years that they have it; some years they have another program).

Each year, I keep track of my reading using a checklist of all the chapters in the Bible. For the past couple of years I've been using the one available from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, available in PDF from this page. Be forewarned, it has an odd quirk - for some reason, it lists Isaiah chapters 51-56 twice. I didn't notice that last year, and wound up doubling my reading on those chapters (not that that's such a bad thing). I think that for 2009 I'll use the version available from the Navigators U.S. Metro Ministries of Detroit, available in PDF here (the Bible Reading Record link).

Whenever I read a chapter for any reason, I check it off. When I get to a crossed-off chapter in my Bible-in-a-year plan, I skip it as already done. Most years I wind up falling behind over the summer, and catching up in the fall or later. There have been a couple of years where I spent New Year's Eve reading Revelation or Ezekiel, which for some reason tends to often be the last book I have left to finish.

I don't mind spending New Year's Eve that way, since I don't like going out that night anyway. (Warning: topics may shift without notice!) As I've said before, my only concern with New Year's Eve is that it entails a slightly higher than normal chance of getting taken out by a drunk driver, making it an excellent evening to stay home and off the roads.

Which brings me to one last point about New Year's Eve / Day: resolutions. I don't make 'em, and generally don't believe 'em from other people.

Like everybody, I've got a mental "to do" list of things I'd like to accomplish before shuffling off this mortal coil, many of which have been nagging at me for years. Some will get done this year, many others won't. As always, the ones that don't will be skipped because other things, some foreseen and some not, take precedence. "Resolving" that this is the year for these lingering projects won't change that.

Many people make the type of resolution that I don't believe for a second, to quit some bad habit - smoking, drinking, overeating. I don't believe these for one simple reason. While I believe that people can make positive changes in these areas, if they really meant to do it, they wouldn't wait for a calendar page to turn. I never, for one second, believe anyone who says they're going to quit smoking at a specific future point. If they really meant to quit, they'd do it now, not later. I don't know who they expect to fool with the "I'll do it soon" routine. Probably themselves.

2009 looms. I'll try to do better, in as many ways as I can, in that year than I did in this one. No resolutions, though.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of a bird. Although I got some nice shots of my family (most of which I won't be posting here), this may be my favourite picture from our recent vacation. It loses a lot by being resized. Click on it for the bigger version.

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