We enter a new year (2017). I will complete my 59th cycle on the planet in a couple of months. I've seen a bit of life over the past six decades. I'm also a historian by training, so I think I have a good purview of where we stand in the grand scheme of things. I know that there is a lot of pessimism and fear going into the new year. I've written about it and thought about it and prayed about it. With Martin Marty, also a historian, I have been looking for signs of hope. They're out there, if we're willing to look for them. With this being the first week of the new year, I share Marty's reflections on the past and the future. I invite you to read and reflect on his message as we ponder the way forward.