The Christmas decorations have been tucked away, and the house is now filled with soothing shades of winter white and a touch of greenery, with candles to warm the dark, cold evenings ahead. New Year’s Eve is upon us, and it is a day to look back on the year that is ending. For many, it has been a difficult year. Our world has seen more than its share of violence and dissension; the long months of election campaigning were unpleasant at best, and many of us are worried about the changes that are coming. We lost many beloved celebrities, too many people met violent ends, and we mourn our personal losses of loved ones and friends. For me it was a year filled with family issues and worries of my own and sadness for friends going through times of loss and illness. I am not unhappy to leave 2016 behind.
Of course, as always is the case, there were many happy moments in our lives during this year. Babies were born, weddings and birthdays were celebrated, and friendships provided both enjoyment and comfort to us all. We enjoyed the pleasures of the seasons, time spent with loved ones, and the personal satisfactions we all treasure. The little grandchildren I have taken care of since infancy are now all school-aged and thriving, and I can enjoy the freedom of time for myself, time to pursue my own dreams. There has been a great deal for many of us to be thankful for as we look back over the year.
At this stage of my life, I view each year as a gift. There are some years that bring more sadness than others, but often it is the most difficult years that require us to pause and give thought to what is really important and what needs to be done to make our private world, as well as the larger world, a better place. 2016 was one of those years for many of us. Today is a day to revisit the struggles of the year past and look for the deeper meaning of it all.
And then, tonight we can celebrate the beginning of 2017. There is a blank slate of 365 days ahead in which we can do our best to positively influence our neighborhoods, our country, and our world in whatever ways we are able . We can strive to be more informed, more involved, more kind, and to do our small part to make this world a better place. We have no idea what this new year holds for us all, but let’s celebrate together tonight and hope that 2017 will be a better year — one where peace and hope abide.
Whether you party the night away or quietly greet 2017 from your own living room,