As a New Year's message, here's an adaptation of a Christmas Eve post from my "Aligning Your Life's Work" blog.

It's a brief reflection on making the absolute best of 2009. Interestingly enough, since writing it, we've had a few new challenges emerge in our lives, so it's been a great opportunity to put the lesson into practice right away!

"A Glorious Day and All It Entails"

Every year in mid-October, there’s a completely clear day where the setting sun outside my ninth floor window lights up the trees just to the north of the building, making the fall colors come alive. Photos never do the sight justice.

Last fall, for whatever reason, this clear, glorious day didn’t arrive. Two things were in the way.

First, many trees in our area were bulldozed to make way for new retail development. Watching this large stand of trees destroyed over the course of a few days was incredibly disheartening. Driving to work the morning after the first day of bulldozing, I saw a deer standing amid a pile of torn down trees eating leaves where it used to live. It almost pushed me over the edge.

Secondly, the remaining trees didn’t achieve the same incredible color scheme this year. The leaves looked more brown than they did yellow, orange, or red.

So what happened instead?

On a mid-October day this year, there was intermittent rain. Far from being clear, the sky was grey, with ominous clouds rolling through all day long.

Then in late afternoon, a rainbow appeared, and the clouds, now very low in the sky, began giving way in various parts of town. As they did, different parts of the city began to light up, revealing beautiful colors among trees throughout Kansas City.

In a unique way, the day of glorious color this year was much more intriguing, not knowing which trees would next receive their flash of illumination, only to randomly surrender it to other trees miles away. What has been a beautiful scene became an interactive display of color and light. It was the most glorious October day yet.

Think about it.

We are finishing a calendar year many view as having stripped away tremendously important things (i.e., money, wealth, status), leaving a dismal landscape, with dim and daunting uncertainty about the year ahead. Sounds a lot like the view from my window, doesn’t it?

What’s the lesson? The glorious day I was anticipating and looking forward to didn’t happen. Instead, challenges and hindrances spoiled the expectation, while working to create something even more glorious.

What I take away is the reminder that challenges, trials, and difficulties are all part of the impetus for creating great things; things we perhaps couldn’t imagine without having to face unexpected hurdles.

For all of us, pray we can take the challenges 2008 presented and those that 2009 holds and make it a truly wondrous year unlike any we’ve experienced before. Blessings for the New Year!