How to See the Light Amidst All the Dark


“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’"  – Luke 2:10

2017 has been a rough year for a lot of people. It’s been full of uncertainty, polarization, fear, and distrust. It got to the point that when my phone lit up with a news alert, I reached for it with a sinking feeling in my stomach, preparing myself to read of the next shooting, terrorist attack, or at the very least one political party saying horrible things about the other. I saw neighbors turn on each other over election yard signs, social media posts on every platform boasting rightful hatred of those on the other side, and families torn apart when light political bickering turned into personal attacks on the ones we are supposed to love most. So as we approach the end of the year, it hasn’t surprised me one bit to hear the pleas for it to be over already, for 2017 to hurry up and end.

But I remember the same calls last year, as people blamed 2016 for all the pain they were feeling. In fact, I can remember a lot of years where similar pleas echoed around me, and though I was glad to see people looking toward the New Year with hope and resolution, I couldn’t stop myself from wondering, what will be different? While this year may have been filled with an exceptional amount of bad news, every year has its bad news. Every year there are people who feel that things are worse than they’ve ever been. Every year people long for a ‘fresh start’.

But while the pain and loss and fear people experienced this year were real, there was also an incredible amount of good news that tends to get lost in the sea of bad news. Good news that often not only occurs in the midst of the bad, but often grows out of it. This year women took a stand against sexual harassment by telling their stories; people stepped up to rescue others and rebuild communities after natural disasters; average citizens became heroes when they threw themselves into danger to protect others during shootings; people marched and protested and stood up for the rights of others; and that doesn’t even begin to cover all of the amazing acts of bravery and kindness shown this year.

When you’re looking at the year in review, it’s easy to get caught up in everything that you wish you could change. But don’t let that make you forget all of the things that have changed you. Maybe you fell in love this year, had a child, landed your dream job, marched in your first protest, graduated college, made a new friend, or adopted a pet. Maybe someone reached out to you with kindness or helped you up when you thought you couldn’t go on. Maybe this year wasn’t perfect, but it made you better, as a person or a friend. And maybe, that’s more than enough to make this year worth it after all.