We twa hay rin aboot the braes,

an pood the gowans fyn;

Bit weev wander monae a weery fet

sin ald lang syn.

Perhaps it took you until the fourth line above to recognize what you were reading. Sounds pretty close to “Auld lang syne” does it not? That is because it is one of the verses of the original song. So, what was that verse about? “We two have run about the hills and picked the daisies fine; But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne.”

This is an old Scottish song that got adopted into New Years Eve’s traditions. To be honest, as a kid, I never knew what this song was about and I didn’t know how to pronounce the name. What I did know was that on New Years Eve, people sometimes did a lot of drinking, counted down the old Years seconds (often while watching the Times Square ball fall), gave someone a hug and a kiss at “happy new year” and then joined in a chorus of Auld Lang Syne while lifting a cup or glass. The closest I could get to the meaning of the song was that we wonder whether or not to leave the past behind and to never think about it again. The assumption had been that holiday season culminates by forgetting the past by having a drink to it and moving on.

The song is asking a rhetorical question: “Is it right that old times be forgotten?” It is a call to remember and value old friendships and experiences. Therefore, it is a look back at the past with appreciation and celebration while recognizing that one has to move on. The song actually makes a strong statement that unless you are a detached human, you will see the value of gathering with old friends and thinking of old times.

So, as we look to close 2023 and open 2024 (I can’t believe it is 2024!), let’s slow down just a bit and think about auld lang syne, old days, and specifically 2023. Let’s not close a chapter until we have analyzed and absorbed the last one. Just yesterday I was working with a 16-year-old who had lost his girlfriend. Of course, he considered it the end of the world because she was supposed to be “the one.” After talking about the reality of young love for a bit, I challenged him to take a look at the relationship and tell me what he had learned because therein lies the value of the experience and the hope for the future. It was a fantastic conversation. He learned what he likes in a relationship, what he likes in a person, what he doesn’t like, as well as what his challenges are personally and where he needs to mature. The conclusion was that he was going to go his ex-girlfriend and thank her for helping him learn about himself and equipping him to recognize his forever partner when he meets her someday.

What about you? What perspective can you gain by looking back on ’23. What sifting of this year do you need to do in order to bring wisdom and joy forward into ’24? Just a few questions:

What victories did you experience in all aspects of your life this year? Why? How can you recreate the decisions that brought the victory?

Did you have wonderful moments that were pure grace? Praise God and move forward with gratitude.

Did people help you this year? Thank them and appreciate that it takes a village.

Are your relationships, personal and professional, better or worse after ’23? How did you contribute and what behaviors should you “start, stop, or continue?”

Did you grow in 2023? What were your major lessons? Congratulate yourself.

Was ’23 a difficult year? How did you handle adversity? How are you now better/worse?

So here is the point: Learn it before you leave it. Then, on New Years Eve, lift a cup to old days and old friends and realize the culmination of your relationships and experiences have made you who you are today. As the CK family, let us all celebrate and grow together as we collaborate in our tremendous calling, looking back to the “old long ago,” and looking forward to new opportunities offered to the current, best versions, of us.