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Christmas is over, and the year swiftly draws to a close. Many of you are still recovering from -- or celebrating -- the holiday, but I think we can all agree we have been blessed beyond all imagination this week. Even if we didn't receive a single gift from under the tree, even if our family avoided us, we nevertheless observed the day our Savior was born -- the greatest blessing of all.

Now, then, we mark the end of our Christmas parties, pageants, and programs. The season itself may last another nine days after today, but the festivities are now over. Just as Christmas ends, so, too, does our new year. The year 2017 will be over in less than a week; I don't know how to feel about that, honestly. In many ways, 2017 hasn't been kind to any of us. In other ways, we still saw incredible and undeserved blessing. I'm saving my year in review post for Friday, but let me say at least this much now: we've done a lot this year. We've come a long way together.

As the year ends, we are presented with new opportunities. We're about to receive a blank slate, fresh chances to do good and do well in a new year. What will we do in 2018? What will we write on its pages? Words of hope, acts of love, a thirst for Jesus? Or will it be the same as this year? Will it be worse? None of us know what the future may hold, but we can all commit to making our part of it the best we can.

Still, we can't do that without the guidance of the Good Shepherd, the one who will lead us, guide us, and continue to love us unconditionally in 2018. And who knows? This could even be the year we see him face to face.

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