For all of us who are looking expectantly to 2017 and wonder what the year holds in store for us, we may be looking back wistfully and wonder what happened to these 12 months that have slipped so quickly by. For a good number of us, illness plagued our last days of 2016. Right now, the queen of England and I have something in common: we both approached this Christmas “under the weather,” waiting to feel better. I probably moaned and groaned much more than the queen, as my family will attest to my rather shabby behavior as a sick person.
This week between Christmas and the new year gives those who would take the opportunity, the chance not only to reflect on the past 12 months with its joys and sorrows, its gains and losses — not the stock market variety — and the opportunities that were lost and found.
While I have long eschewed resolutions of any kind, this time of year, when family gathers, a time to tell and retell the stories of “our family,” who the important people are to us, whether they arrived quite recently and have given us a chance to celebrate and thank God for this new person in our lives or left us long ago. Sometimes we see the “ghost” of a former beloved relative in the smile or frown of one who still walks among us, and we catch our breath or revel in the reminder.
If we need a reason to rejoice during this Christmas Season that is now unfolding, all we need do is open our eyes to what goes on in this world of ours. So much venom has been spewed in our nation over the last few months, and as bad as that has been, it doesn’t compare to those who are “celebrating” Christmas in Syria or other parts of the Middle East. Other areas of the world still bear the scars of war, and conflicts bubble the world over with the potential to cut lives short for little or no reason. The innocent, those considered “collateral damage” seem to suffer the most, with children always victimized by a conflict.
By now, we should realize that any one of us could become a refugee of sorts, depending on a disaster that could occur because of location or weather. We can only be assured of right now. “Tomorrow is not promised” as many would say. Instead of curling up with a bit of gloom and doom, we should be grateful and happy that we have right now, and we can do something about not only our situation but also that of others whose fortunes seem less exciting and fulfilling than ours.
So many people are stepping up and reaching out to others; it’s infectious. My wish for all of us is that we, too, become “infected” by the joy of Christmas, that we spread this infection as far and as widely as possible so that when we come to the end of 2017 we can breathe a happy sigh, knowing what it means to celebrate not only the Christmas Season but the entire year as well.
Christmas blessings and God’s mercy to all of us today and every day of the coming year.