Before you put away the ornaments from the Christmas tree, file recipes of food you only prepare for the holidays, and organize your presents, get a sheet of paper and a pen to record a few thoughts.
Reflect on experiences during the month of December. Consider these questions:
1. Where did I see God?
2. How did I experience God?
3. When did I offer God's love?
Keep a copy of your reflections in a place where you can reference them throughout 2017, perhaps in the spring after Easter, during July, and in October as preparations for the next Christmas begin.
The answers that come from the questions can reveal the fullness of God's presence as well as give form to changes you might want to implement during the holiday this year.
Additional reflections for the new year are an examination of your life and priorities. Responding to each can offer cleansing and direction in the new year.
4. For what am I longing?
5. What themes keep recurring in my life?
6. Where am I struggling?
7. What is most life-giving to me?
8. What is least life-giving?
Jesus spent time going away for prayer. Although we do not know the content of His reflections, He gave us a model of the importance of being still with God.
Prayer: God, at the beginning of a new year, help us collect our experiences with You and others from this Christmas season. Guide us as we use these eight questions to realize Your presence with us to offer new energy and focus within and guide us in service to You. Amen.
For your reflection: These questions can be used not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.