It seems appropriate as we close the year of 2017 to reflect.

I always find it fascinating at this time of year when media, especially in television and newspapers, recap the past year’s events, and we get a picture of what just was.  Weather events, names in the news, and this last year of celebrating our wonderful country Canada come to mind.  Even Face Book is willing to do that for us on a more personal note, taking our pictures, and presenting them in a kaleidoscope of memories. 

Reflection and even analyzing has it’s place, as we might review our goals and dreams.  Were there things we hoped for?  How did the unexpected impact us?  Was it a good year?

For some, it was marked by loss, and we hold that tenderly, as there are empty spaces at the table in our celebrations this year, people we  could not buy that special gift for, or create memories with.

For others it will be great joy, the birth of a child, falling in love, beautiful moments of life to be cherished.

I’ve made it a practice to choose a word each year to reflect on.  My word for 2017 was JOY.  As I thought about this word, and set out to practice the meaning of it, I have come to recognize that JOY cannot be manufactured.  No, rather it needs to be lived, it is a choice in the midst of life’s messiness. 

And sometimes there is the great feelings of joy, and other times there is a decision to choose to be thankful, and grateful for the many blessings we share.  I am deeply blessed, and I know many of you feel the same.

As I was thinking about this word “Reflections”, it can have another meaning.  We can reflect on the past, on our life, but we also are “reflections” of what we spend time with, whether that is positive or negative.  These are reflections of who we are.

We can reflect Love, or Peace, Hope or Joy.  I often think of the amazing fact that we are made in the image of the Creator, and do I reflect that?  This morning I was reading a devotional by Rob deCotes, where he quoted Colossians 3:10, which says, “Put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of it’s Creator.”

That was a confirmation for me as I reflected on these thoughts, and gave me food for my soul today. 

I’ve been thinking about my new word for 2018, but first I wanted to spend time on what I’ve learned.  This is always a good meditative exercise, to honestly look at our strengths and weaknesses.

It is a gift to experience God’s grace and mercy in the midst of it all, and do I reflect that grace and mercy in the way I live? 

These are my reflections for today, as we close this year.

May your New year be rich, with the gifts that last; with love and grace and joy.

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