“Sit in your yard and watch the leaves fall,” said the message in my Dove chocolate wrapper. It was New Year’s Eve, and the message was supposed to be a fun suggestion, perhaps a small resolution easily kept. But it was the middle of winter! The leaves had already fallen, and it was cold outside. Plus, my yard isn’t anything to write home about: just a tiny patch of grass with a short brick wall outlining it. We didn’t have any lawn chairs, and the doors and windows of our inner-city row house were barred–an indication of a neighborhood that was anything but savory. Still, that message whispered simply of peaceful times. Maybe next fall, I could see that promise fulfilled.
Who knew that the fulfillment of that vision would come just one day later, on New Year’s Day, 2012. I had just driven home after a glorious weekend of fun. It was Sunday night, and it was time for a good night’s rest. I found a great parking place, just across the street from my house. After waiting a few seconds to soak in a few more notes of music from my radio, I shut off the engine and went to the back seat. I pulled out everything that had sustained me over the weekend: my sleeping bag and pillow, my unused change of clothes in my duffel, my book bag with Bible inside, leftover salmon and green beans from New Year’s lunch. Taking them all to the door, I remembered one thing I had missed. I went back to my car, grabbed my jacket and locked the doors, not realizing that my keys were sitting in the back seat. I had locked myself out.
Upon discovering my mistake, I quickly called my roommate. I had an extra car key in my room, so I wasn’t worried about calling a locksmith or anything drastic like that. I just had to wait for my roommate to come home. So I waited. I found myself sitting on my front step next to a pile of luggage and bedding. It was dark, but the street lights illuminated the DC street. I looked up and saw the trees, a few leaves still remaining, clutching the branches tightly as the strong breeze danced through them. I remembered my message from the night before. How interesting, I thought, that I might witness the exact thing which last night had seemed so unlikely.
I watched and waited. One minute turned into two, which turned into three. Minute after minute, my expectancy grew, but the orange leaves continued to hold on. They were the strong ones, the last few remaining after one long year. I continued to sit in peace, the fifty-five degree air cooling my lungs while the Spirit soothed my soul. Finally, gloriously, a sizable gust shook the branches, and several cold leaves drifted to the street below like a curtain of natural confetti. I became a witness to the fulfillment of a dream.
That was just the first day of 2012. What more does this year have for all of us? What promises will be fulfilled? If January first was any indication, I believe we are in store for incredible things.
“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so.”–Genesis 1:14-15