NEWS

Auld Lang Syne: remembering old acquaintances

By Laurel Pattenden

Just when you think you’ve got this Christmas season under control in pops New Year’s Eve right in the middle of our twelve days of Christmas. So we take a hiatus from the journey of the magi to ring in the New Year.

All cultures celebrate a new year somewhere in the calendar year and for some of us this is celebrated on the eve of Dec.31.

The festivities usually includes the singing of Auld Lang Syne at midnight. Most attribute this song to Robert Burns but there is some controversy about the authorship.

Just as controversy seems to appear everywhere but that is not why I mention this song.Many of us know or recognize the one line in the song that goes like “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”. Once again the ugly head of multitasking arises. Not only are we to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas at the same time of New Year’s but we are also to ring in the new while remembering the old. I believe this is why most people have “just a wee nip” on New Year’s Eve! It is truly a dance!

Laurel Pattenden, Snowy Night, Watercolour

Other occasions can also stir us to reminisce. Articles that have appeared in the Huron Church News about Camp Wendake (the annual camp for HIV positive campers at HCC) caused me to think of a woman counselor I met there. (I volunteered 21 years ago as a lifeguard.) I was reading the Bible in my bunk and she mentioned she couldn’t read it anymore or acknowledge the church as it was far too patriarchal for her.

Being me, I took on her challenge. Starting by mentioning the women by name I could remember in popular scripture readings starring in major roles. Then reflecting on how many stories were dependent on women, in minor roles, for the story to evolve.

Women are included in the genealogy of Jesus. Mentioning to her that you have to sometimes search for the “seed pearls” for the story of women in the Bible and church history. We met again, a few months later, at the debriefing session for the camp. She mentioned that she started reading the Bible again.

Just as the HCN article caused me to reminisce about the counselor so did our chance meeting spurred her to rekindle her old acquaintances with the women in the Bible.

Sweet January, in Canada, was created for remembering our old acquaintances. Did Robbie Burns know that there is no more perfect time than this? Well, probably, as I don’t think winter is much warmer in Scotland.

Ah January, as we shelter in place against the cold, hopefully providing us respite from the previous month’s scurrying. Perhaps I will renew my acquaintance with Deborah or Dorcas, Huldah or Herodias, Leah or Lois, Phoebe or Priscilla. Or maybe Ahaz or Andrew, Salmon or Saul, Jeremiah or Jechoniah, Mahlon or Mark.

“Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old, long, since”. What better words to describe our Christian scripture. ‘Old’ words carried through “long” years and how do we relate to them “since” then.

Let’s journey together, this January, beginning a new year to renew our old acquaintances.

Laurel is retired and likes to spend her time in her art studio.