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    A View from the Pew
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    Dec312011

    New Year's Eve 2011

    December 31, 2011- New Year’s Eve

    On Sunday, the Morency family will gather en masse to welcome the New Year together. Spanning a myriad of professions including health care, business, education, social work, hospitality and food industry, psychology, ministry, music, authorship, law (blue and red) and philanthropy, this pot potpourri of relations assembles during the twelve days of Christmas each year. From the eldest member, my 91 year old father, to the youngest member, my six-month old great nephew, we will remember those who cannot be with us because of distance or death, celebrate our relationships and success stories of the past year and believe that family remains the most durable foundation in anyone’s life.

    When my husband Pat told me that Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Speech 2011 focused on family, I downloaded the speech for free (and for fun) on my Kindle and found myself reflecting on her letter. She focused on the strength of family. She explored the positive outcomes when people cooperate and work together for a common good. She reflected on the meaning of family and how vastly one’s family can extend, how wide and all embracing it can become, when relationships encompass a community, an organization, a nation. The Queen’s Speech reached out to those who will not spend Christmas with family –to armed forces who serve abroad, the bereaved, the lonely who find this season of joy anything but joyful.

    The last part of Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Speech particularly moved me. She explores the theme of forgiveness within the message of the angels who assure frightened shepherds to fear not. Anything becomes possible, even forgiveness, through this stable-born child birthed in poverty and humility. In speaking to her subjects, this monarch bows to the power of God’s love that restores broken relationships, conquers divisions within families, nations and yes, even ecclesial communities because of the reconciling hope that we sing about, feast about and celebrate. She ends with a prayer that we find ‘room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love God through Christ our Lord.” Spot on, Your Majesty.

    Wherever we find ourselves within our own families, our nation and our church, I feel that the Queen really nails it when she sites forgiveness and reconciliation as the dominant factors within the season of Christmas. Finding optimism within adversity challenges us at every turn, particularly within this historical time of diverse polemics within church and state. Whatever our opinions may be within any context, in the end, all we have is one another. Christ offers us the way of life. How will we live our lives after the lights come off the tree, the hymns find their way back into the music files and ordinary times begin the new year? Will we be a family of naysayers or Christ savers?

    Peaceful tidings of comfort and joy to you all as we begin this New Year – together.

    Denise

    N.B. Morgan Music and Liturgy receives a lot of sample materials. This year, Liturgical Press (www.litpress.org) sent a small book of daily reflections called Advent and Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2011-2012 by Jay Cormier, an adjunct professor at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH. Cormier also edits Connections, a monthly newsletter of ideas and resources for homilists and communications and leads workshops for clergy and laity in preaching skills and liturgy. This little pocket guide costs $2.00 per copy. I found it to be one of the most insightful and useful daily treasures within the plethora of books on the subject and used it throughout Advent and Christmas for my own prayer and reflection. If you want this little gem as a prayer tool for your staff or parish for next year, know that they sell in bulk; the more you buy, the less they cost. A great resource.