Summary: Do you feel like you are caught up in the endless Circle of Life? Can we find the "right place" in the Circle of Life? How can we get the best out of our Circle of Life?

Circle of Life : A New Year Message

Another year is coming to an end, another new year is about to begin. And this is not a unique phenomenon. It happens every 12 months, every 52 weeks, every 365 days. This is a cyclical event that happens with regularity.

That regularity is what prompted me to consider the theme of “Circle of Life” for tonight’s message. Most of us would have seen the movie Lion King and many of us would remember the song Circle of Life from the movie. The Lyrics of the song go like this.

From the day we arrive on the planet

And blinking, step into the sun

There's more to see than can ever be seen

More to do than can ever be done

There's far too much to take in here

More to find than can ever be found

But the sun rolling high

Through the sapphire sky

Keeps great and small on the endless round

It's the circle of life

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the circle

The circle of life

Songwriters: Elton John / Tim Rice, Circle of Life lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

How many of us sitting here can identify with the lyrics of the song? Especially the words that life moves us through despair and hope, through faith and love, till we find our place in the Circle of Life. How many of us might have gone through that cycle in 2018, and are unsure of what we will go through in 2019?

And when we study the bible, we can find that King Solomon, starts off his whole sermon on the meaninglessness of life in the book of Ecclesiastes by affirming the very same concept. Ecclesiastes 1:3-5 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) 3 What do people gain from all their hard work under the sun? 4 Generations come, and generations go, but the earth lasts forever. 5 The sun rises, and the sun sets, and then it rushes back to the place where it will rise again.

But my message is not on that bible passage tonight. I want to raise a whole new question tonight. If we accept that we have to find our place in the Circle of Life, if we accept the concept of the Circle of Life, how can we make the best out of it? How can we find the “right” place in the Circle of Life and not be like King Solomon who found it all meaningless towards the end of his life? What can we do to get the best out of the Circle of Life?

I am going to dwell on two things we can do, especially in the context of ending of one year 2018 and beginning of another year 2019. We are about to bid good bye to one year and say hello to another year. So when we look back, what will help us to put the Circle of Life in the right context is the virtue of Gratitude, and when we look ahead, what is essential is the requirement of being Born-Again. So this is what we can do to get the best out of our Circle of Life. Look back with Gratitude on the year that has gone by, and make a commitment to be Born-Again while entering the new year. Let us examine these two a bit more.

The first century BC Roman thinker Cicero (who is considered a righteous or virtuous pagan by the early church fathers) is believed to have said “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all virtues”. It is common belief that Gratitude is required. Actually it has even been proven scientifically that people who express gratitude have greater life satisfaction, fewer visit to doc and better sleep. But with all that good evidence for us to be thankful it is often the most forgotten virtue too. A social research by Simeon Floyd, Anthropologist at Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics , Netherlands, shows that Globally only 5.5% people express gratitude in words or even in gestures like a nod of approval. English Speaking population has highest % at 14.5%. Italians come next at 13.5%. There are language groups where an equivalent of Thank you does not even exist. Let us be part of that 5.5% . Let us make an intentional effort to be thankful to all that has happened to us in 2018. I was touched by this poem titled “I live in Grace” by Susan Fowler, (author of Self Leadership and several other books) on the topic and I suggest we recite it together.

I live in Gratitude.

Every Experience is a blessing

Or a blessing in disguise –

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