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Summary: The ball that drops at Times Square is called the "Star of Hope" and on its face are the "wishes" of our nation for courage, peace, fellowship etc. But if we listen to Scripture, we have a hope based on something more than "wishing upon a star."

OPEN: Tonight at 11:59 pm, over one billion people all across the world will be watching as the “ball” drops in New York City’s Times Square. That got me to wondering about the history of the New Year’s Eve “ball” and what I discovered was intriguing:

· The 1st "time-ball" was installed on top of England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833

· After the success of that event, approximately 150 such time-balls were installed around the world. But few survive and still work.

· The tradition is carried on today in places like the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, where a time-ball descends from a flagpole at noon each day - and of course, once a year in Times Square, where it marks the stroke of midnight.

· New York actually held a New Years celebration as early as 1904, but it wasn’t until 1907 that they “dropped” an iron and wood ball and adorned with a hundred 25-watt light bulbs. It was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds

· From that date until today, the ball has dropped every year except 1942 and 1943 during the City’s WWII “dim-outs”. Crowds still gathered in Times Square during those years and greeted the New Year with a moment of silence followed by chimes ringing out from One Times Square.

· Over the years, the “time-ball” has undergone about 4 re-designs – the most recent one was created for the Millennial celebration in the year 2000 by Waterford Crystal. It’s a geodesic sphere, six feet in diameter, and weighing approximately 1,070 pounds. It’s covered with a total of 504 crystal triangles that vary in size.

· And each of those triangles has a special designation: Hope for Fellowship, Hope for Peace, Hope for Wisdom, Hope for Unity, Hope for Courage, Hope for Healing, etc.

The Name of the ball itself? The Star of Hope

APPLY: Why would they call the New Year’s ball the “Star of Hope?”

Because each new year IS a time for hope

It’s a time for opportunity

It’s a time for us to grasp hold of our future/ our destiny

What Proverbs 17:24 is telling us is that: we have the opportunity to “lay hold of our destiny and future” for this coming New Year. The hope for our future depends upon us.

But that hope doesn’t lie in “wishing upon a star” - which is essentially what those triangles on the Star of Hope actually are all about. The “hope” for fellowship, peace, wisdom, courage and so on are not based upon promises, but upon a wish for we’d like to see take place in the next year.

Proverbs 24 is saying that the Wise man has a powerful future waiting for him because he keeps his eyes on wisdom. By contrast, the fool has his eyes on something else… his eyes are on the ends of the earth.

What’s the difference between the two? And how can I (and you) avoid become like the wise man and get the best God wants to give us?

I. Well, let’s take a look at the fool first

“The fool’s eyes,” says Proverbs “wander to the ends of the earth.”

This verse has always interested me – because I can visualize this guy

ILLUS: Years ago, my dad told me about a woman he observed while he was picking berries in a strawberry patch. This woman would pick a strawberry here… and then she’d look up and see another strawberry a couple of rows away and off she’d run to pick that berry.

Then she’d look up and see another berry a few plants away and off she’d go, again and again and again all across the patch.

Dad said that in the time it took her to fill one bucket he could fill 10.

Her eyes were always wandering across the field looking for the easiest berry’s to find.

And the fool is like that… he’s always looking for the easiest berry in the patch. He’s always seeking an easy way to get ahead in his life.

· He’s the guy who invests in the future by buying lottery tickets

· He can’t seem to stay married… because no person is ever good enough

· He can’t keep a job because no job is good enough

· He can’t stay in one church, because no church is good enough

There is always a rainbow waiting for them over the next hill. Their eyes wander constantly to the ends of the earth. They are constantly comparing:

Ø themselves

Ø and their families

Ø and their jobs

Ø and their potential

to something else or to someone else

AND THEY ARE NEVER SATISFIED

Like that woman who hurried from bush to bush in the strawberry patch they are constantly running from bright bobble of life to the next. Always hoping that the next ring they grab will be the brass ring.

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