A popular song when I was in high school was Dan Fogelberg’s Same Old Lang Syne from
1980. It springs to mind this time of year because, being as odd in high school as I am now, I
knew that the spelling of “old” in the New Year’s Eve song Fogelberg was referencing was
“auld.” Being the budding linguist, before realizing how bad at foreign languages I am, I also
knew that it was Scots. I was able to display this knowledge when an exchange student living
with us, who occasionally recorded Casey Kasem’s top 40 on a cassette radio player to send to
his girlfriend, asked what these strange spellings were for the song. I knew. How I knew, I don’t
know. Today, I can only wonder how it was a person acquired this specialized knowledge as a
teenager without the internet? What could I have been reading that gave me this information?
And where could I have stumbled across it?
Being a traditionalist, I’m glad that old tune and lyrics are still associated with New Year’s Eve.
As a child, I can remember the New Year’s Eve party always given by neighbors in their
basement, watching the countdown with Guy Lombardo and hearing Auld Lang Syne. To be
smart aleck, we kids used to call him Guy Lumbago, not really knowing what lumbago was, just
knowing it sounded old and funny. Fifty years on, I know what lumbago is, even if the term is as
archaic as auld lang syne. And come to think of it, lumbago still sounds old and funny.
Every so often I hear of people trying to change Auld Lang Syne as the customary music for
New Year’s Eve. It has a dirge-like quality as a tune. Nobody knows how to spell it. And many
people who listen to the words are confused by them. Unless they read a lot of Jane Austin
novels, people don’t really use “should” like that anymore. But it nonetheless hangs in there.
And a quick google can bring a person up-to-snuff on all the intricacies that will make it less
foreign to the modern mind.
On the last day of this year, we will gather the morning of New Year’s Eve for our Sunday
Worship Service. There’s a remote possibility we could be in the sanctuary? Probably not, But…maybe.
We will prepare ourselves to welcome 2024 with all of its hopefulness and uncertainties. We are anticipating an election year that will weigh heavy on us through 2024. After the voting, a significant portion of the population will be angry and frightened with the results.
But, as we gather through this Christmas season and on New Year’s Eve, let us together
celebrate and honor that which is best about our better natures. As the song implores, let us
raise a cup of kindness to generosity, patience, endurance, and gratitude, those things from
times past that have always sustained us. Let us recall the good times, and remember that it is
the bonds with the people we know, more than the events, that make them worth remembering.
Happy New Year.