AS A KID, I vividly remember, I was unable to wait until 2:50 p.m. on Friday and the ring of the bell that signaled the beginning of a fun-filled weekend. Many years later, it seems as if time has hastened its pace, and before I know it, another week has come and gone. To be more precise, 52 weeks have now come and gone, and we're about to enter a new year.
There were many memorable events that occurred in those 52 weeks that made it a very special year.
On a personal note, our daughter married a fine young man, and I was blessed to perform the ceremony. My wife retired, which brought more structure and calm to our household. Unfortunately, though, too many close friends and relatives died or were stricken with illness.
In local politics, Michael Nutter, who served for 14 years as a city councilman, was sworn in as Philadelphia's 98th mayor.
In sports, the Phillies won the World Series and swimmer Michael Phelps made history by winning eight gold medals in the Olympics.
In Hollywood, "The Dark Knight" scared us to death. "The Bucket List" made us laugh. And "The Great Debaters" challenged us to reflect on how far we have come in race relations in our country.
In national politics, it seemed as if the entire year was dedicated to campaigning by presidential hopefuls. The candidates tossed slogans around like tennis balls. There were mottoes like "Yes We Can," "A Change You Can Believe In," and "A Change You Can Really Believe In." Well, you get the picture.
Many things had an impact on our pocketbooks as well. Gas prices reached over $4 a gallon, and a record number of people lost their jobs and their homes because of the economy, greed and predatory lending.
We cannot put a price tag on the lives lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.
As we embark upon this new year, and the first term of our first black president, we cannot deny that we have faced historic challenges, defeats, victories and changes - all of which will shape our future.
President-elect Barack Obama can probably relate to first line of Charles Dickens' epic novel "A Tale Of Two Cities": "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
It is the best of times because the people of the United States of America elected their first black president. But it is the worst of times because Obama will be at the head of government in a time of great peril. He will take our country's helm with an economy in recession, our foreign policy seemingly out of control, and our health-care and educational systems in need of serious reform. He will have only four to eight years to fix it.
Regardless of the lens through which we see the year 2008, it should remind us that the only thing we can predict is the unpredictable, the only thing we can expect is the unexpected and the only constant is change.
But there is good news. There is a universal government, and the one at the helm of that government does not change. He is someone and has something that remains the same. God's word does not change, and neither does his person. His mandate is love, and he wants to shower it onto his creation.
Man's sinful state has led him to a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and despair, and as a result, fear surrounds us. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." God tells us that he did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind - all of which come from his constancy.
We do not need new laws, new amendments or new propositions to cure what ails us as a people or a nation. The solution for our condition has always been and continues to be the same. It is a relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ; that will never change. Those who have dared to believe this simple fact, regardless of culture, nationality, sex or economic status, have always found deliverance, peace and hope.
The best resolution for change is to trust in the government that doesn't. *