A few days ago I watched the final episode of the John Adams HBO miniseries that is based on the book written by David McCullough. The seventh part did not fail to live up to the high standards the preceding six had set, and I finished the story with a new appreciation for this wise, courageous, and God-fearing man. My mind continues to reflect upon a particular scene from the final episode that is even now influencing the way in which I look upon this new year of 2011.
It is the scene where Mr. Adams is walking through a sunny Massachusetts field with his son. He is now old and gray, his faithful wife and friend, Abigail, is dead, and his political career has come to an end. As he enjoys the beautiful countryside surrounding him, he tells his son how at this point in life even the small blossom on a weed sparks his imagination. “Rejoice evermore,” John says, to which his son asks, “What’s that father?” “Well, it’s a phrase from Saint Paul, you fool,” says John. Mr. Adams repeats the expression and wishes that these words had always been on his heart and tongue. He is overcome with adoration, and would fall to his knees if only his legs would bend as they used to.
It is this phrase, “rejoice evermore,” that I intend to live by this year. It is an attractive practice to idealize 2011, to fantasize about future success in regard to career, health, and relationships. It is equally tempting to look upon the coming months with a pessimistic eye, to predict the failure and tragedy it will surely bring. Yet, what man may lay claim to the future? Is he not ignorant of the days ahead, and is he not responsible to rejoice and give thanks for all God places before him, be it pleasant or disagreeable? For does God not cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him?
So let us “rejoice evermore” this year, whether it brings happiness or sorrow, laughter or tears. Let us be glad during merry times and exultant in tribulation. In keeping with John Adams’ words I continue Saint Paul’s phrase, which proclaims to us, “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”