As I usually say at the New Year or on my birthday, "just one more trip around the Solar System". But, to borrow from Jerry Garcia, what a long, strange trip this year has been (but with some real blessings, too).
A year ago, it looked like our next president would be Hillary Clinton or one of several Republicans.
The US shot down a failing satellite in February, gaining some missile defense experience in an increasingly dangerous world. Civilian and commercial space activities made significant advances this year, particularly in the year's final weeks, while the final Shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope has to wait until 2009.
Spring time brought a particularly blessed time with Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the US, which included the April 17 Mass in DC which I attended.
The year saw the most serious economic dislocations world wide in many decades, with spiking energy prices, the housing and credit market collapses and ongoing fear and uncertainty going into the new year.
The seemingly endless presidential campaign concluded with the historic election of Barack Obama while introducing a dynamic prolife conservative leader to the nation in the person of Sarah Palin, who will surely be a part of our future.
Our new president should be in our prayers so that he gains the wisdom and strength to do the right things (even if they differ from some of his past positions and promises). Those prayers are also needed in light of the continuing and growing dangers in the world, as seen this year in the Russian invasion of Georgia, the terrorist atrocities in Mumbai and in the Middle East violence provoked by Hamas in the closing days of the year. It is possible to pray fervently for peace without assuming a false moral equivalency in every conflict.
Well, we say good bye to one wild and crazy year, and look forward to a challenging new year with our prayers and hopes.