Though the date of January 1st is of no cosmic signficance, the reality is many people do view it as a fresh start. We hear a great deal about looking back—in the form of Year in Review commentaries—and looking forward, as in New Year’s resolutions. To get those nagging intentions down on paper, yes, I’m going to pay more attention to my mind, body, and spirit this year. 

If you can’t summon up the discipline to start today, you’ll have another chance on February 3rd, when according to the Chinese calendar, we will enter the Year of the Rabbit. (That gives you over a month to continue slacking off.) I’m not a fan of astrology for reasons I’ll get into another time, but out of cultural curiosity, I do enjoy reading about Chinese New Year designations, and I have a special fondness for rabbits. They know it, too; winter hares visit our house nightly.

I thought I’d take a look at what the Year of the Rabbit is supposed to mean.  According to the website, this will be “A placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger . . . Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force.” (I’m all for that.) It goes on to say “Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be rigidly enforced.” (This I’d like to see at airport security lines, particularly with respect to children and grandparents traveling with said children to Disneyland.) The website also notes that “Money can be made without too much labor.” Wow, where do I get in on that one?  

In addition, I read “The Rabbit, or Hare as he is referred to in Chinese mythology, is the emblem of longevity and is said to derive his essence from the Moon. When a Westerner gazes at the Moon, he may joke that it is a ball of cheese or tell a child the story of the Man in the Moon. When a Chinese looks at the Moon, he sees the Moon Hare standing near a rock under a Cassia tree and holding the Elixir of Immortality in his hands.” (Unfortunately, according to Wikipedia, “Many of these substances, far from contributing to longevity, were actively toxic. Jiajing Emperor in the Ming Dynasty died from ingesting a lethal dosage of mercury in the supposed ‘Elixir of Life’ conjured by alchemists.”) Take another look at the picture above. I did not place that rock to the right of the hares, and there is no reason it should have been in the driveway . . .

Kidding aside, all this sounds very positive, as though 2011 will be a peaceful and productive time. I like the coincidence that I intend to e-publish my memoir, Rabbit Trail, this Spring. Here’s a rough sketch of the proposed cover:

While the promise of 2011 seems bright, there is a brighter Promise yet that lies before us. The true Elixir of Immortality is none other than He whose birth the Christian world celebrated just a week ago, Jesus Christ. The old song, “To Know Him Is To Love Him,” is never more applicable that it is here. Think about it: while you may feel interested in someone, it’s only through time spent together that richness develops in the relationship. That’s why, after I exercise my mind more by increased reading and writing, and my body by ramping up time on the slopes and stationery bike, my spirit is going to get a workout by getting back to regular Bible study.

I don’t know if you’re a believer or not. Maybe you’re like I was when I was on my “rabbit trail,” spiritually seeking (some of the time), thinking I had it all figured out, only to discover one more dead end. This I can tell you: If you want answers about what the future holds, how to achieve peace, and the real meaning of immortality, I just gave you the lead you’re looking for.

Here’s wishing 2011 is the very best year of your life!