The Darkest Night of the Year: 2008

It’s the shortest day of the year and so the Christmas lights came on early in the house. We’ve put the girls to bed and now its one of my favorite parts of the day when we wind down and drink some coffee and sit in the quiet room with the lights and tree. In many ways, metaphorically, this time of year feels like the end of the day. It’s a long exhale after a year of hard work. I don’t know if I’ve worked harder in a year, professionally or at home and I am weary. I am looking forward to a couple of weeks with friends, family, and even a little football at the end of the holiday break.

I’ve scaled back this year in a lot of ways. I pretty much had to drop all of my “projects” outside of work and home just to keep my head above water at work and at home. The result is that most years I can look back and see the things I’ve accomplished for the year, but this year I don’t really feel like I accomplished very much, even though I’m more exhausted at the end of this year than I can ever remember. I don’t think it was all in vain, though. I don’t know about professionally, it remains to be seen if I’ll reap any benefits (or at least, just not get laid off) next year, but at home I feel good that I spent a lot of time with my wife and the girls. I’m hoping that time will pay off in future years as we grow as a family. We took the girls out for a drive around the neighborhoods on Friday night to look at Christmas lights. They slept through the whole thing, which was fine with us, we played Behold The Lamb of God in the CD player and enjoyed the quiet as we drove around but I hope we’re at least instilling traditions for the girls and the family.

So, much like I enjoy the time each evening to wind down from a long day, I’m going enjoy these next couple of weeks to wind down from a long year. December has been a busy month with work so I don’t really feel like I’ve had much time to reflect on the Christmas season. Over these next couple of days I’m planning to take some time to engage in some of my own personal traditions to prepare for the Advent and celebrate the arrival of the Christ child for another year later this week.