With all the preparations which propel us forward towards Christmas Day - both hospitality related (decorations, food, presents) and work related (sermons and visual aids and carol services) - and thenbeing caught up in the celebrations after, it is interesting to read reviews in some of the magazines and papers which look back at the year.
2013 has been an interesting year - with news happening every moment of every day it is hard to analyse things. There has been much to regret, the squeeze on welfare payments has left many caught between a rock and a hard place; where employment is not even providing enough, where many businesses have not been able to succeed, where dependence on help - be it cheap supermarket prices, food banks or payday loans - has become the norm for many. This is a challenge for all of us in work to see whether we can do more, whether it is to give, support or protest.
We appear to live in an increasingly violent culture - on the global stage wars continue to rage, on the local, murder by someone know to the victim seems to happen frequently, and then there are the legal battles that get played out in court or on our newscreens. How do we counter such trends?
But on the positive side - and it is easy to see the glass half empty - we have had the warmest summer for years, people were a bit more chilled as they enjoyed the sunshine, we have enjoyed the royal birth, and ratings appear to be up for both the new Pope and the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
Some of these recollections have happened already as annual Cheistmas letters appear through the letterbox.
As Advent draws us into Christmas, these last few days may give us a time to reflect, albeit briefly on the year we have had - and taking the advent themes, to voice regret over our own shortcomings, as well as give thanks for all the good that there has been. That will set us in good stead to really enjoy 25th as we celebrate God coming amongst us and God continuing to be with us, whatever our circumstances.
What if..... we had the opportunity to rerun our year?