"What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?"
~ from The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats
It was universally acknowledged that it had been a good year. Standing at the podium, overlooking a sea of humanity, it was easy to think one could slip into serene and permanent slumber, content in the knowledge that there was a general increase in the things that mattered most and decrease in the things that didn't.
If being rich and thin were the marking points, then bank balances were up and weight was down.
It's possible those weren't the markers, that there were other factors, like general peace and harmony and good karma, that material things mattered little if at all, that those who loved us loved us and those who didn't had nicely turned ankles.
But this was not the good year.
This was a year best forgotten; when one was writing the story of their life near its close it was the chapter omitted. When midnight was striking on the last day of the year it was slipping out the back door without so much as a gracious taking of leave. It was gone, gone, and best forgotten.
Nothing remarkable happened in this year. No babies were born whose lives were celebrated. No triumphs occurred in the corners of one's home or on distant shores. Love did not multiply. Everything stood still, or spun in circles, but nothing moved in ways that were memorable. The best lacked all conviction.
It was universally acknowledged that it had been a good year. There was a glow over that sea of humanity, something that radiated beyond the individual to the collective, something that vibrated past the horizon. People looked beyond themselves, and to the greater good, lives were spared and celebrated and cherished, and love bore fruit. There wasn't just a season of giving; it was a way of life. Doors and arms were open. Children laughed. Fear was banished.
Everything remarkable happened in this year. Babies were born, lives celebrated, triumphs at home, triumphs abroad.
Love was unconditional, and took wing.