I don’t go to New Year’s parties. I don’t drink much, I’m not a very good dancer and I’m definitely not the life of the party.
More stuff I don’t like; Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve = yuck! Watching the ball drop = who cares?! Every hour on the hour parties from around the world = snore…
I like to go to bed early, get up early on New Year’s Day and go somewhere wonderful. Somewhere I feel the wind on my face and see the hand of God in the distance. My idea of celebrating New Year’s is to hang with God’s creation.
When we were living in Scranton, I joined a group of crazy hikers on an annual New Year’s hike up to the top of Bald Mountain overlooking Ransom/Newton. Fifteen minutes from downtown Scranton, it was like walking into another world. The cold wind on my face, the swaying trees, the awesome view from up top, I couldn’t think of any better way to spend my holiday. When we returned from our jaunt, we heated up hot dogs over an open fire and chowed down. Not exactly a fire star restaurant but satisfying all the same. All in all, my time in Scranton provided the best New Year’s celebration I could ever want.
Now that I have been living in NJ I have searched for a similar experience. The mountains that afford views are pretty far away. I have visited them from time to time but I don’t want to spend my New Year’s in a car. So I have turned my attention to the shore. Fifteen minutes from my house is the Raritan Bay. Forty Five minutes, and I’m at the ocean. There are few things I like better than spending a winter’s day at the ocean. First of all, no people. I’m never relaxed in a crowd, so the fewer people the better. Secondly, the views. To the north, I can see NYC and Coney Island. To the east, the endless horizon. You can’t beat that. And lastly, the other inhabitants of this beautiful place. In the winter birds come to the Jersey shore by the thousands. The salt water doesn’t freeze and that gives them access to lots of food. Also, have you ever wondered where Robins go when it gets cold? Why Sandy Hook, NJ, of course. There is a holly and cedar forest full of berries in the winter in Sandy Hook that brings in the Robins by the train load. And have you ever wondered if there are any Harbor Seals on the NJ coast? Of course there are, however the heavy boat traffic in summer keeps them out of sight. In winter, they’re all over the place. The Jersey shore during the winter months is the paradise it should be in the summer. Only, I don’t recommend trying to get a tan.
It’s also a great place to pray and meditate. When I am surrounded by the beauty of nature, I feel closer to the Creator. It seems much easier for me to speak with God out there gazing upon the ocean. I seem to be better able to quiet the busy conversation I’m always having inside my head. And when I calm things down inside, I can better hear what God has to say to me.
Forget New Year’s Rockin’ whatever. Get outside New Year’s Day and spend some time with God.