Closing out the year

This past Tuesday night I had my last auction for 2018. We had a good turnout and an excellent sale. Now it’s time to enjoy the Christmas season and spend time with family and friends. It’s also a time to relax and spend some time planning for the upcoming year. Chances are you can’t shut down your normal work routine for a month like I can (It helps to have retired twice!), but it’s still a good opportunity to think about the year ahead.

I’m a big fan of setting goals, and this is the time of the year I think about my goals for the coming year. It all begins by deciding what I want to accomplish in the next year and years following and thinking through about how to achieve them. I’ve found that without specific goals it becomes too easy to drift through life, and drifting seldom achieves much of value. I’ll write more about goal setting in the next few days.

The holiday season is always a busy time for most people, but it’s still a great time to consider the many blessings you’ve enjoyed during the current year. Perhaps you can’t wait until the year is over. I get that; I’ve had years like that. Sometimes all you want is to start over fresh in a new year and put the current one behind you. Even then, there are things for which you can be thankful. As I think about the meaning of the Christmas season and the reason we celebrate it there is much for which we can be thankful. The birth of Jesus Christ can bring hope to every person if we’ll receive it.

Many of us stress over the gifts we’ll give to our family and friends. Let me suggest that in your gift giving give the one gift almost anyone will appreciate: your time and your love. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I think it’s important to make sure people know how I feel about them. I want to give my flowers to people while they are alive. I want my kids and grandkids to know how much they mean to me. I want my friends to know how they’ve impacted my life. The best way to make sure they know that is to tell them. When you give them the gift of your love you can be pretty sure they won’t take it back for a refund!

For me, the end of the year has always been a time of closing out the past and looking forward to a new, fresh start at the beginning of the new year. I grew up with an Etch-a-Sketch that consisted of a piece of plastic over a black board. To erase what you had put on the plastic all you had to do was raise the plastic up. When you did that you had a fresh slate to write on. That’s how I see a new year. We get brand new opportunities to do with whatever we please. The key to a happy, successful life is to do the most important things with those opportunities.

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