The year is ending, and for most people, it means reflecting on 2023 and looking forward to 2024. Regardless of how the year went, we all want next year to be better.

In business, we want more profits, fewer injuries, a more considerable backlog, less conflict on our projects, and more harmony with the people we work with and around. At home, we hope for more time, more money, fewer bills to pay, less stress, and more peace around us.

Was 2023 a good year?

It all depends on how you look at things. Some of us are optimists, and others are pessimists (they call themselves realists).

At work, we had injuries, accidents, people leaving the company for what they thought were better opportunities, conflicts on projects, and struggles with the other trades on our projects. From time to time, people didn’t live up to their end of the bargains we made. At times, we were outright lied to by people.

Projects we were counting on were delayed or canceled. We got short-paid and paid late. If you want to look at things negatively, you can find things that went wrong. You don’t need to make up stories.

If you are looking for positive angles in 2023, you can point out how we picked up a lot of work.

We finished our projects on time. We have added dozens of people and ended the year with more coworkers than we started. People devised new, more efficient, and higher-quality ways to do things. We had a record year for volume. Projects beat their budgets. Coworkers got promoted and passed the journeyman test in record numbers. Coworkers moved into retirement.

We put a parental-level benefit into place, and we have exceeded the number of people we figured would use the benefit roughly twofold. We expanded our vacation policy and gave out retention bonuses and, recently, annual bonuses.

Just like every other year, 2023 was a mixed bag.

But every year ends with the Christmas season. I realize this time of year can bring up unpleasant memories for some people. Not everybody has had a lifetime of Christmas that is solely lollipops and gumdrops. Things go wrong in our lives and can sometimes happen to us during and around Christmas. For some of us, this year will be our first Christmas without a loved one we lost in 2023.

It makes the season a little sad.

But the reason for the season is still the same. We celebrate because God sent His son to us on Christmas. It changed the world. It gives a chance for hope. When combined with Easter, we get true meaning for our lives.

The beauty of every year is they all end at Christmas. They all end with the chance to reflect on what matters and how the future can improve.

Believing in Christmas means believing in hope for tomorrow and the bright future.

So, as you laugh with Clark Griswold and Buddy the Elf or treasure the people around you with George Bailey, my challenge is to take the time to take in a church service this Christmas and focus on the message of hope for tomorrow every Christmas, bring to us.

Focus on the words of the songs we sing—the message of life they give. Regardless of how your 2023 went, it can all be redeemed at Christmas.

Joy to the World, the Lord has come.