At the Stroke of Midnight…

 

SnowyClock

Outside, snow is falling in the darkness. Swirling…Drifting. Inside, the house is warm and cozy. We sip hot cocoa by the fireplace. A radio rambles to itself in the corner… The cuckoo clock tick-tocks sleepily, the little bird snug in his bed. A typical evening, it would seem.

Ah…but tonight is different. The hands of the old clock are sweeping onward… Upward… heading toward midnight. 30…29…28…27…26 minutes to go.

The countdown has begun. The final moments of this year—of this decade! It’s the death of the old… And the birth of the new.

Watch it all on satellite… See the revelers in Time Square with party hats and confetti! Roaring crowds and all the hoopla.

But if you want an even bigger picture, click on Dish Network. You’ll see live footage from cameras in outer space. Planet Earth spinning slowly, silently on its axis. You’ll see our world—our continents, our cities and neighborhoods—plunging through darkness, heading toward midnight.

Ah yes! 2011 will be the best year ever! The DJ’s are talking about it on radio talk-shows everywhere. Talking about the year just ahead. They’re playing the crazy theme song: “It’s the End of the World as We Know It—and I Feel Fine!”

25…24…23…22…21…..

“We’ve only got one more year ‘til 2012!” the DJ’s say, “and from the looks of it, 2012 could be just awful, folks! This world’s a mess!” They talk serious…then they chuckle. They cut up and carry on. “We don’t know how it’s gonna end—but we’ve gotta do our very best living, right now!”

20…19…18…17…16….

The DJ’s words gallop on. Exclamation points mark every word. “Looks like we’re in trouble here on Planet Earth—so it’s time to give it your best shot! What do ya have to lose?”

They’re right. We can’t push the pause button and stop it—this mad rush toward the future. Can’t rewind the past year and relive it. But at least we’ve got another year ahead of us… A brand new year—a clean slate—as white and untouched as the bank of snow outside the window.

15 …14….13….12…11….

The year 2011…Mysterious. Beckoning. What does the new year hold? Great joy and opportunities? Sorrow? Surprises?

We sip our hot cocoa and muse to ourselves—thinking deep thoughts. Next year will be different than the last one, we’re sure…And it’s a good thing! We want to leave 2011 on a higher level than 2010. We had so many goals and expectations for this past year. Where did the they all go?

10…9…8…7…6….

We take a deep breath…the final seconds are ticking by. The little cuckoo bird is about to pop out his door…He’s about to announce to the world that a new year has arrived.

There’s hardly a moment left. Here lies the epitaph of our year! It’s written in stone…Can’t be changed, now. So much unfinished business—scattered pieces here and there. Not as tidy as we would’ve liked it. But…ready or not, here it comes!

5…4…3…2…1…0….

In Time Square, the ball drops down…down…down…! For just a moment, we hang suspended in time—poised between two worlds—the past and the future.

Then everything melds together at the stroke of midnight! Past…Present…and Future…They all become one at that magical moment.

On every radio and TV network, the crowds burst into cheers. Fireworks explode. Car horns honk. The racket awakens the sleepy little cuckoo-bird. He pops out his door and delivers a belated announcement, before ducking back inside.

We laugh. We throw open our front door and scream into the night: “It’s 2011…! Happy New Year!” We say it to everyone in the world, and to no one in particular. To the inhabitants of our planet—to all those continents and cities and neighborhoods spinning through darkness.

The sound echoes into the chilly countryside. Then silence falls. It’s a soft world out there…Smothered in feathery white…Like somebody burst open a big pillow, releasing tons of downy feathers into the darkness.

The snow drifts downward, blanketing our new year…Covering us in white, revealing clean blank pages for us to doodle on….Just waiting for us to write a new chapter. A new story in the pages of our lives.

It will be fun. We’ll fill the empty pages with adventures. We’ll cancel out all the bad stuff. No more squabbling, or fussing. Just peace and harmony and maybe a piece of apple pie-a-la-mode with happiness…whipped cream…laughter…and a cherry on top.

We’re feeling giddy. Drunk on the champagne of life.

Feels so good to have a new year to fill up with wonderful things. It’s like winning the Sweepstakes, or having a big shopping cart at a Free Shopping Spree…Pushing the cart down the aisles of Life, picking out what we want. Nothing ugly, broken or tarnished. Nothing from the discount rack of Expectations. No more bad attitudes or foolishness.

Just the good stuff, folks. Just the good stuff.

And there you have it, my country neighbors!….It’s official. We’re in the year 2011. We’ve got another year to make things right. To accomplish goals and to make friends of our enemies…To love the Good Lord with all of our hearts.

Live this year well! Spend it wisely. Love and laugh like there’s no tomorrow. You have a new lease on life. A clean slate!

And just think….

It all happened at the stroke of midnight.

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