I love this poem by John Nye which I came across many years ago in Symphony, a magazine of Christian poetry (No. 6, Autumn 1978).
Each closing year is as a vessel filled,
To seal and set within life’s growing store,
There to remain while living is fulfilled,
Until its contents are revealed once more.
With watchful eye and ever willing heart,
So must the Christian use each precious hour;
Then shall no day which God has given depart,
Lacking in fragrant service or in power.
The year that now has run its rapid course
May be but one of many or of few;
Our times are in His hands. Is there remorse
Or sadness, as its passing we review?
All that our Lord has given are gifts of love,
Though suffering and trial formed a part
Of that unfailing wisdom from above
Which fully understands the human heart.
God gives all needful blessings to His own;
His mercies, undeserved, mark every year;
But there is yet a task for us alone,
To work for Him in ways His Word makes clear.
Some days of this year’s vessel still remain,
Before, with God, we fill it to the brim:
May He so help us that it may contain
Only those things which will bring joy to Him!