The gifts have been opened, the wrappings cleaned up, Christmas dinner eaten, and friends and relatives have visited.

Was everyone excited about their Christmas gifts? 

Were you thankful for the gifts you received, or did you wish for something you didn't get? 

My husband, Jim, and I are grateful for the gift of salvation, and for the gift of each other as well as our adorable pets. 

Of course, the greatest gift of all is the gift of new life in Jesus Christ, by accepting Him as our Savior.

Now, with Christmas over, we all look forward to a new year, 2016!

When Jim, my brother Robb and I celebrated the new millennium at Disneyland, the future seemed light years away, and yet soon it will be 2016.

Once one is no longer a child, times does fly.

What joys or sorrows have you had this year?

Was 2015 a good year, one filled with such joy that you are sorry to see it go, or was it such a sad year that you are happy to see it leave? 

I am glad it is over, although I remember my grandmother telling me not to wish my life away.

One of the wonderful gifts the Lord gives us is the gift of a New Year: a time of new beginnings, a time for new hopes and dreams, a time for new memories — a fresh start. 

What do you plan to do with your fresh beginning?

What new hopes, or new expectations do you anticipate?

We all have some bad habits that it would be nice to be rid of. Apparently, when speaking, I overuse the word "anyway," so I intend to make a concerted effort to quit.

For some, it may be the time to get sober from drugs or alcohol; time to quit smoking, gambling or engaging in another addiction or bad habit.

A fresh start is something worthwhile, and while it may take real effort, it's a blessing to have a new beginning available each year.

Janice Lynn Crose lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.