By Bob Gill

New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration for the approaching new year but it is also tinged with apprehension over what events the following year may bring. In his 1939 Christmas broadcast, the first Christmas of the Second  World War,

King George VI quoted lines from the poem written by Minnie Louise Haskins, in 1908, entitled ‘God Knows’, although the poem is often referred to as the ‘The Gate of the Year’. The first verse of the poem includes the following lines:

‘And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year’:

‘’Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown’’

‘And he replied’ :

‘’Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way’’

Amidst the uncertainty of war and fearfulness of how 1940 would unfold, the lines from Minnie Haskins were a great comfort to the British population. The poem provided simple and effective advice and resonates today.

Similarly, in the Mass for St Sylvester, on 31 December, the first reading, from the prophet Ezekiel (Chapter 34, verses 11-16)  and the responsorial psalm ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, both stress that the Lord will look after his flock.

The opening sentence from Ezekiel states:

‘I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view’.

Both the poem and the readings from the Mass for St Sylvester, on 31 December are appropriate for New Year’s Eve and are a great re-assurance that the Lord will look after his peoples in the forthcoming year.

Other Articles by Bob Gill:

Stella Maris & Sea Sunday