OLD YEAR DAY is to be found neither in the lists of legal holidays nor in the church calendars. But, in watching the “the old year die” poets, essayists, and preachers are invariably stirred to the noblest use of their arts and the highest exercise of their talents.
The Holy Scriptures abound in passages appropriate to the thoughts of the day. The most prominent theme is Time: Its flight, value, improvement, loss, irrecoverableness, and end.
Psalm 39:4 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. 5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. 6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
Psalm 90:9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Job 7:6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.
Job 9:25 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good. 26 They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.
Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
This line of thought naturally suggests the contemplation of Life: its brevity, frailty, uncertainty, opportunities neglected or improved, purpose, departing youth, advancing age, and approaching end.
2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Psalm 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;
Isaiah 40:6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
The last day of the year, to the thoughtful mind, is also suggestive of the last day of life. And Old Year thoughts of time, and life and death lead up to the consideration of the Day of Judgment, Heaven, Hell, Eternity, and that God to whom all His intelligent creatures must give an account.
John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jude 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Probably no other day, unless we except Easter Sunday, has suggested as profound thought, as eloquent expression, and as earnest and noble living as the last day of the year.