The presents are opened, and the company has gone home. I sit here looking at the lights still shining on the beautiful Christmas tree. Christmas is over; the wrapping paper, boxes, and bows are put away. The closets are a little fuller as I hang up the new clothes we were given. Leftovers from Christmas dinner are still on the table in the garage because there is no room in the fridge. I went to a store today to exchange a gift that was the wrong size. The line was long. People still crowded the store taking advantage of the after-Christmas sales, so I was glad I only had one item to exchange. As it turned out, I liked the new item even better than the original.

We have just a few days left, and then we will exchange this year–a year filled with joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, work and rest–for a new one. We can enter this new year with hope, because so long ago the Word became flesh and came to live with us. We can like this new year better than the last one because God IS with us. God is in the present, and we experience Him in the now. We can look back over days gone by, see His hand at work, and realize that He was in the past as well. But, the present is where we experience His strength, His peace, and His joy.  So in the next few days, as you unwrap the gift of a new year, stop long enough to experience Him.

Happy New Year!