An important lesson in my life is one that I'm still learning. It involves welcoming and trusting God as a loving father, rather than as a severe judge or "divine tester." Once, when I was quite young and probably came home with some catechism lesson about heaven and hell, my dad said with great conviction, that as a father he could never consign any of his children to unending torment — that is, to hell. His conviction was an awakening for me.
We want to change, but we cannot seem to get beyond a cultural depression. Although we mark this new year as "2018" maybe we should mark it 4.5618 billion years (the approximate age of Earth) or 202,018, the approximate age of the Homo sapiens species.
Christmastime on the planet of the rich is a world of consumption. In fact, what we realize around this time of the year is that we have a lot of stuff — so much stuff that many people donate to charity (as tax write-offs) or simply opt out of giving gifts.