The holidays and the end of the year allow for a time of retrospection. You may find yourself reflecting upon the events that you have experienced, both major and minor, In terms of their significance. What has stood out for you as a major achievement? What emerged as a disappointment or even a failure?

When you are in the middle of a critical event that is happening to you, it’s sometimes difficult to get clarity regarding its impact. However, when there is time for thinking and considering what has transpired, it is then that the possibility of meaning emerges, which in turn can produce greater understanding.

A person can be confronted with a major health scare, only to find out that the medical problem is indeed quite manageable. Another person can experience a change in their job status, which initially may feel like a mistake, only to discover that the change is probably the best outcome.

Indeed, John Lennon was accurate when he noted:

“Life is what’s happening to you when you’re busy making other plans. “

The challenge is how do you deal with the anxiety of living through the unknown?

The period of Advent is designed as a time of preparation, working, and reflecting upon what it means, once again, for the presence of God to be born again in the life of Jesus. We are considering again what it means for God to dwell among us, Emmanuel.

Ralph Waldo Emerson observed:

“ To the person laboring under calamity, the heat of their own fire has sadness in it “

If you are like me, it becomes too easy to be swept up in the frantic momentum of the moment. What needs to get done and how can I get it done as soon as possible? Unfortunately, when this happens people end up becoming human doers instead of human beings.

This holiday period of Advent, the winter solstice, is the time to light the fires to banish away the darkness; and the cold reminds us that there is a need to live life slower in a more waiting, watchful and intentional manner.

What is waiting to be born? What is emerging as a new discovery for you and I?

Hopefully it will be to respond with thanksgiving and gratitude for what life reveals to us every day, even when it is challenging and messy.

The writer of the Gospel Of John notes:

““The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. ‘” (John 1; 5)

May the end time of this year bring an opportunity for perspective, hope, and healing for all of us as we continue to walk “from the dark side of the street to the bright side of the road” ( Van Morrison ).

May it be so.