"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be the blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king. "

- J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hope of Glory



It's Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is always awkward for me because I spend most of the day worrying whether I "reflected enough" on Jesus and "the real reason for the season" while also being extremely busy with all the activities we have planned. This year, though, I haven't had much trouble taking some time to ponder on the year and this season.

Honestly, I had a good year. It was not without it's dark, lonely, and hard days. There were plenty of those. But, in the coming days, I think I will look back on this year with a smile. I realize that I'm lucky. Many friends and close ones will not say the same thing about this year. They will do whatever they can to not look back on this year.

I don't think it's by accident that Christmas is so close to the end of the year. I know Jesus was not literally born on December 25, but it feels like, at the end of the year, we're all desperate for some hope. So, as we reflect on our year and the global and personal tragedies we faced, we can also reflect on the promise of God-made-flesh. The Hope of Glory. Jesus coming as a babe to save us and give us Hope.

I sometimes wonder why I'm still surprised by the tragedies of our world. Life is rich. It's full and flavorful and bitter. The ugly and the beautiful warring against each other. As long as we are on this side of eternity, there is going to be tension. We live in a not-yet-eternity, in a fallen world, in the waiting room of Hope. And God understands. He is not shocked or surprised. He knows. He came and He comes every year to convince us of this.

Life is supposed to be hard. There will be tears and scars and sorrow. All I hope for this new year is that I will stop trying to hide my face. That I will spend every day drawing near to him because He is my refuge. Through the hard. Through the fears, the doubts, the tragedies. Even through the joys and the highs and the good days. I pray I'll still approach the throne. I pray I'll still cling to Him in the shadow of His wings.

I pray that for all. Keep going, weary traveler.