It's over. The last string of fairy lights has been packed away, the last of the pine needles have been swept from the floor, and world once again feels darker, drabber and little more real.
The festive season has run its course, and I can no longer hide behind the joyful camouflage of Christmas or cushion reality with twinkling lights and carols. I must stand squarely before this new year and face up to the future.
In truth, standing on the brink of this new year and looking into the darkness of the unknown makes fear snag at my heart. There are big decisions to be made, unknown paths to walk, much feared news to learn, empty hours to fill, soul-searching to be done and big changes to be lived.
And no matter how hard my soul aches at the thought of all this change, or my heart catches with fear at the void of the unknown, I know that the year is already upon us and the days ahead are coming.
And all I can do is take one day at a time, cling tightly to the beauty that overflows all around me, and hold these beautiful words in my heart as I step forth into the darkness.
"I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."
And he replied, "Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way."