This is a tough season. Christmas, the turn of the year, the holidays; this time of this year in particular drags at me. Not just me. Many of my friends are struggling especially now, as well. When I was young this was the best time. When I was younger I felt the excitement and goodwill in my bones. It resonated and was reflected in the faces and attitudes of all the people I met. Not just as a child but in my teens and twenties and even into my thirties I looked forward to Christmas from the ending of the last one. It was a time of unity and togetherness and purpose and hope. The older I get, though, the more loss enters my life. The losses are more poignant during this season because they contrast even more against the brilliance and hope of the time. It’s easier to ignore the things that aren’t there, until I get to the time when those lost connections would normally have been most joyfully felt. I probably notice similar feelings in my friends because we’re all getting older and as we do we naturally experience loss in our lives. Loved ones die, or leave us, or those we love don’t return the feeling, or friends drift away, or…unnumbered things go missing from our lives. Those things are so much more visible when contrasted against the feelings this time of year evokes in our hearts. It’s like those optical illusions where you’re looking at the silhouette of a lovely lady and the perspective shifts and suddenly you’re looking at the profile silhouette of an old crone. This writing is to remind me, and all my friends like me, not to focus on the old crone. See the other picture. The hope is still in this time of year. The renewal, the joy, the blessings, all those things are still in front of us. For Christians (and for non-Christians) this is a reminder of the turning point, the rise of promise. I’m going to try not to let the things I’ve lost blind me to the things I have and, more importantly, to the things I might have. To those friends like me, I hope you do the same.