15078543_10207877727882687_9073753884834843778_nThe consensus seems to be that 2016 can’t end soon enough. We’ve said goodbye to so many people this year. With loss, space is created for something new. We can choose what we let in, what forms us, what holds our attention. Here are a couple of thoughts from my collection of Christmas reflections to help prepare your heart for the New Year. In 2017, let’s go high.

My usual advice column format returns next week. Send your questions, or get your friends to send in theirs. I look forward to hearing from you!



We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers. Psalm 124:7

Celebrate! We are freed from the burdens of Christmas preparations. The anticipation, the preparations for the big day have all come to an end. The day that loomed so large for so long is now past. We’re heading into a new year with memories of another Christmas feast.

Imagine Mary gazing at her baby, Jesus. She, too, is freed from the confines of pregnancy; freed to care for this new life entrusted to her. The long-awaited child just arrived, and yet the memory of a time without him is already slipping from her mind.

The New Year for many is a time to reevaluate priorities and set new goals. A good way to identify these goals might be to consider: For what purpose, what new life, have you been freed this Advent season?


For the darkness is over and the real light begins to shine. 1 John 2:7

A popular bumper sticker proclaims: “S*** HAPPENS.”  Perhaps the better perspective is “HOPE HAPPENS.”

Life is a combination of the two. “Life is difficult,” writes M. Scott Peck in his classic, The Road Less Traveled. Once we accept this truth, he says, then life is no longer difficult.

Our perspective on life has everything to do with our expectations. If we expect life to be care-free, then when the difficulties arise, we feel we have been treated unfairly. Focus on the bad things and after a while, that’s all we’ll see.

One intangible gift the Christmas season offers is the renewal of hope in our world. Jesus was born at a time in history no less turbulent than our own. He brought unconditional love and unfailing hope to the world. For those of us who carry the title “Christian,” that responsibility is ours today … right down to the bumper stickers we put on our cars.

What are the signs of hope and love you see in your life today? How can you spread the good news that “HOPE HAPPENS”?


Take a moment to reflect:

Today I am grateful for:

My intention for today:

My to-do list for today:


In a quandary? Life got you down? Need some perspective? If you’d like to submit a question, click here. Let’s hear from you, or “for a friend.” Please add your thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section, below. 

Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.  This column, its author, and the publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity, and all comments are moderated.