Before you put away the ornaments from the Christmas tree, file the recipes for food you only prepare for the holidays, and organize presents, get a sheet of paper and a pen to record a few thoughts.
Reflect on experiences during the month of December and write your answers. 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 throughout 2016, perhaps in the spring after Easter, during the summer or next October as preparations for next Christmas may begin. The answers that come from these questions can reveal the fullness of God's presence as well as give form to changes you might want to implement in future holiday planning.
Additional questions for the new year are an examination of your life and priorities. Responding to each can offer cleansing and direction in the new year.
1. For what am I longing?
2. What themes keep recurring in my life?
3. Where am I struggling?
4. What is most life-giving to me?
5. 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 2015. Guide us as we use these eight questions to realize your presence with us, give us new energy and focus within and guide us in service to you. Amen.