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This has always seemed like the strangest week of the year to me. 

We’ve just gotten through the madness of Christmas, and the madness of New Year’s Eve lurks on the horizon.  But somehow, during the intervening week a strange quiet seems to settle on the world.  Somehow between all the people who simply take the week off and the faintly menacing knowledge that yet another year is about to close its books, we seem to develop a softness.

The thing about it is, even though there is a strange quiet around us, it does not feel calming in the least.  It feels much more like the quiet that comes just before a major storm breaks out.  It is the hush of resignation in the face of nature’s fury.  In this case, though, nature is represented not by the howling winds or drifting snow banks, but by the inevitable and unstoppable march of time.

I think all of us begin to feel a bit more sharply the steps of time during this week.  We have celebrated with our families, and have known a period of joy and contentment, but now are faced with a single week during which another year slows down and finally stops.  And, as we see that slowing taking place around us, as we see the calendar march inevitably toward the final moments of the year, we begin to become more reflective.  Pensive, even.

What have we seen this year?  What have we accomplished?  Did this year lead to steps forward or backward in our lives?  Did we love and live as we should have or did we squander the time?  The questions gnaw away at the edges of our subconscious and even emerge into the conscious mind as we begin to make resolutions.

Quiet reflection and meditation on what has been and will be can be a healthy and fulfilling exercise, but ultimately we cannot alter the past or future.  Dwelling on the past, which nothing can change, can be self-destructive.  Living entirely in the present can be irresponsible.  Thus, there is danger in becoming ties up in time’s passage.

We are all here in the quiet.  And, I believe that if we try to love one another the passage of time won’t be so frightening.  You don’t have to like the people you meet everyday, but try to love them in the spirit of fellowship that we all have as human beings.

As this year runs down and the quiet descends, I can say only this: live your life such that if you were to be gone tomorrow people would remember you and smile.

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