The ending of one year and the anticipation of a new one stirs in many of us a complexity of memories and feelings.
For some there may be happy, even joyful rememberings of times past and just how much has happened in twelve months. For others it is a difficult time as they recall more those painful memories and issues that this season may bring to mind. For most of us it is a mix of the two as we have time with family, friends, relax a little and look forward to a New Year laden with possibilities whilst at the same time glad to leave behind the hassles and problems this year may have brought.
In my own case I am prompted to reflect upon those I have loved and indeed still love, who were so much a part of my Christmas stories of the past, but with whom I have lost touch or who are now in the higher life looking through at me here from their new world. I owe them all so much words hardly suffice. With my heart I embrace them, hug them. In my thoughts I tell them how much they are loved, valued and missed. I am sure they will know.
For some souls this will be a lonely time, without others around, at least physically, to share moments with them. They may not even have a roof over their head let alone receive gifts and enjoy the company of others. Amidst the tinsel and hot wine, they deserve our love, caring thoughts and help however we may individually be able to give that help. Now is a good time to reflect on such things. After all we are all a part of each other, are we not? We are the same family.
As I write these words to you, I am listening to a recording of the beautiful Christmas Story, an oratorio by the composer Heinrich Schutz (1565 – 1672). It stirs in me the wonderful memory of the young 25 year old tenor I once was, singing professionally for the Heinrich Schutz Chorale in London as we recorded this music both for a commercial record release and also later in Rochester Cathedral for BBC television during the late autumn of 1971. Such a beautiful memory, such haunting sounds, such a gift of an experience it both was and still is for me. How beautiful it is.
I have just heard the words sung “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” (“Aber das Kind wuchs und war stark im Geist, voller Weisheit, und Gottes Gnade war bei ihm.”)
We are all that child. You, me, everyone, we are that great being even though we may not recognise it.
I send my love to you, hug you and tell you how much I value you. And I acknowledge the great spirit in you, the wisdom and the limitless grace that I know flows through you. You are so important to me.
And I so look forward to seeing you, hearing from you, in 2018.