By Brent Vawter

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

It’s time for this familiar tune to get its annual one-night stand as we bid farewell (or good riddance) to an especially hard year and look forward to a better one. To prepare for this evening, I repeated my yearly tradition of googling “auld land syne” to brush up on the lyrics and remind myself what it even means.

Actually, that’s not entirely true since I won’t be singing it with friends tonight. Truth is, I wanted to understand what the song is really about and why we sing it every year. It’s a toast to the year gone by and the year to come, right?

In examining all five verses, I discover that it’s actually about old friends who recount both good and hard times, toasting the fond memories while lamenting the distance that’s grown between them. It’s a song that acknowledges the shared experience of joy and sorrow, of toil and rest, but with a focus on the people who were there with us.

It brings to mind an illustration that Ray Sanders shared with one of our CBMC Young Professionals groups a couple months ago. He brought a ladder into the room to help us visualize our career progression, and then challenged us with two unexpected questions: 

Who are the rungs on your ladder?
Whose ladder are you the rungs on?

He didn’t ask what are the rungs, but who.

Like Ray’s illustration, this song prompts us to think: who are the people who have helped us through this year, and who have we been helping? 

Stop and ponder that question for a minute.

Before we rush to put 2020 behind us, let’s appreciate the people who traveled this tough year with us. By all means, be honest with the loss and hardship of this year, but let’s not lose sight of the friends who saw us through.


Think and Pray

Should old acquaintance be forgot? May it never be – and may our appreciation not go unexpressed! In fact, why not take a couple minutes right now to send a quick text message to three or four of those people? 

Lord, thank You for the friends and family who have supported me, prayed for me and been a sounding board for me and my family in this past year. Help me to be an authentic witness for You in every relationship you’ve placed in my life. Amen. 


Brent Vawter is a Senior Area Director for CBMC Oklahoma. Having spent the first 30 years of his career helping several Fortune 100 companies with their marketing and operations, he now focuses his efforts on helping businessmen grow in their relationship with Christ and discover greater purpose in life and meaning in their work.