As another year ticks inexorably to its close, some of us will be busy devising New Year resolutions.
The only thing that will change when the clock strikes midnight next Tuesday is the figures on the calendar.
I gave up making New Year resolutions in my teens, mainly because every one I made - particularly the one about giving up drinking that sprang from the depths of a shattering New Year's Day hangover - never lasted more than a day or two at most.
I have a tendency at this time of year to take time out to reflect on the year just past and to think about what might be different in the next one.
But there's not much profit in it. What is past is past and while it might be able to be modified, it certainly can't be undone.
What is to come remains hidden to us mere mortals and is known only to God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, who sees the beginning and the end of all things.
Which is a very good reason to stay under his protection and care and to pray daily as he taught us, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". Never forgetting, of course, "Give us this day our daily bread ..."
We all have before us as another year dawns 365 blank pages on which to write the continuing story of our lives - a very good reason to live one day at a time.
For all we have is now; all the rest is either history or mystery. I could be dead before I finish writing this column, or before it gets published, or next week or next month. So what's the point in worrying?
God knows I have enough trouble coping with one day at a time without fizzing about past failures or scheming future victories.
Sure, like everybody I make plans. But, having made them I simply do what I can today to see that they come to fruition - or don't. If they do, that's great; if they don't that's okay, too.
There'll be something else to do instead.
God is in control and the world is unfolding as it should, not always to my liking and generally beyond my understanding.
I don't mind a bit. It's a thing called faith, which the writer to the Hebrews defined so beautifully as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".
Then there's hope - and hope in God is the only hope worth having.
He has never, ever let me down (though I've accused him of it a few times, I must admit). Hope in things worldly - money, property, prestige - is unreliable to say the least; they are of little account in the eternal scheme of things.
So I will live next year as I have lived this one - one day at a time - and listen again now and then to that wonderful ballad One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus written by Kris Kristofferson and Marijohn Wilkins back in the 1970s and recorded since by a score or more of star soloists and groups:
One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking of you,
Just give me the strength
To do every day what I have to do.
Yesterday's gone, sweet Jesus,
And tomorrow may never be mine;
Lord, help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.
My prayer for all for 2014 is this: "May the Lord bless you and keep you; may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may He look upon you with kindness, and give you His peace."