The holidays are a time to reflect, but also to look ahead
December 22, 2006
When driving forward, we so often find it necessary to look into our rearview mirror. So wary of what is behind us. But how often and for how long? If not often enough, we find ourselves forgetting what we passed and left behind. If too long, then we lose sight of where we are and will miss what waits for us ahead. Chances are we will then slam into what is ahead of us, hard, and alarmingly, without warning. Then it may be too late.
At Christmas time, have you ever wondered why the holidays can so forcefully, yet so deftly command you to reflect? To ponder? To look into your own rearview mirrors and wonder? Maybe it’s because each year is really a mini life within our life. January is the birth of a new year, and December lays to rest the life we lived over the past 12 months. We have so few Christmases in our lifetime. So few years to our healthy lives.
Maybe a year in our lives is just a stretch of road. Sometimes the going is slow, or too fast. Could be that our road is under construction for growth or repairs. Maybe an accident has set us back. Or we just have to come to a complete stop and rest, for the drive can be so tiresome. It feels good to stop.
When I was a child, I believed that the world became still when the Christ baby was born. Everything stopped. Everything was motionless, and the only sound to be heard was His cry – a sound that soared higher than the stars and echoed over the world. There was no difference in time. The entire universe was veiled in darkness and walled in silence just to hear His mighty cry that by turn filled the night with the roar of hope’s new beginning, of infinite sadness and defeat, and of ultimate triumph. He was and is man. He is everything we stand for. Those thoughts were comforting to me as a child, but of mortal richness and soulful dependency to me now.
Maybe we should just go on thinking as we did as children, with unwavering faith. What if the end of each year was intended as the time for our own report card? The time when we ask God, “Were You happy with me? Did I do OK?” And maybe it’s that one time of the year when we’re supposed to ask ourselves those same questions. Those questions we ask ourselves are not unlike the questions that probably forge within us as we grow old and life’s own December closes in.
One thing we should ponder is that we shouldn’t ponder too long. Losing sight of where we are and what lies ahead of us will, when our present becomes our past, cause an irreversible regret that will surmount like heavy layers of rock we can no longer lift off of us. And then there is no rearview mirror that is clear enough to correct the visual of what we have left behind.
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A small gift of thought from me to you at this holiday season.
• John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.