I was reminiscing and came across something that I wanted to share with you again. I hope you don't mind.
For many people around the world the beginning of a new year becomes a time for grand celebrations, watching the old year fade away as the new is ushered in.
People attend parties where they count down the seconds to midnight and watch as the crystal ball drops in Times Square.
They make promises to keep in the New Year, and remember the ones they failed at in the years gone by.
Some people celebrate by taking trips to exotic locales and then enjoy all of the sights and sounds that go along with the local celebrations.
I was thinking recently of my fantastic trip to Paris, France to ring in the New Year. It was a dream trip that surpassed so many others.
We stayed in one of Paris's grand hotels, just walking distance to some of the most wonderful sights of the city.
We toured the Louvre, one of the world's largest museums. We saw the Arche de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame.
We ate in some of the most delightful restaurants and tasted foie gras, escargot, truffles, and enjoyed smoked duck breast marget, and wonderful cheeses, breads and soups.
We took a dinner cruise on the Seine River and reveled to the great jazz music played by the orchestra.
Then on New Year's Eve, starting at 9 p.m., we joined the crowds on Champs-Elysees, to celebrate and welcome the New Year in.
At the stroke of midnight we had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower as it exploded into what seemed like a million dancing lights.
People shouted, "Bonne Annees," (Happy New Year) and exchanged bises, or small kisses on each cheek, with everyone around them.
Fireworks lit up the night sky over the city, and it was just magical.
Then there was the New Year celebration we had on the plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, where we watched the wildebeests and the zebras graze.
And the fantastic boat trip down the Amazon River, as it wound its way through the jungles of South America....
Alright, now I'm really getting carried away.
Like I said near the start of this column, it was my "fantastic trip to Paris, France," fantastic such as in "fantasy."
I've never been to Paris. Not even Paris, Tennessee or Paris, Texas. I was just dreaming on paper.
The closest thing to French cuisine I've ever had was French toast (which I love), French fries (which are okay with brown gravy), and French dressing (but I prefer Ranch).
The closest to the Serengeti National Park I've ever been was the Phoenix Zoo.
Truth be told, we don't really celebrate the New Year in my family. My wife works at the hospital nearly every New Year's Eve, so I am home alone. And that's fine by me.
I'm in bed by 10 p.m. most nights anyway, if not I'm snoozing in my recliner in the living room. New Year's Eve is just another night for me.
I may wake up at midnight to the sound of fireworks exploding in the neighborhood, and I'll call my wife at work to wish her a Happy New Year, and then I'm back to sleep.
Back to sleep where I'll dream of that cruise on the Seine, or the crowds at the Louvre marveling at the magnificent works of art, or the herds of wild animals on the grass covered plains of Africa, or the sights and sounds of the Amazon....
I shared these thoughts last year too, but some dreams are worth revisiting.
May your New Year be filled with wonder and may God's richest blessings be enjoyed by you and your loved ones.
Welcome to 2012! Happy New Year!
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at email@example.com.