It is New Year's Eve, and the final day of December.
Which means, it is time to close another year of The Musical Advent Calendar... today's selection, "New Year", by John Rutter (my favourite choral composer, if you haven't already noticed!), performed by The Cambridge Singers, will be the final one for 2008.
Please allow me once again to thank you all for reading, and for listening every day this month. I have enjoyed hearing from so many of you, from all over the world, and look forward to planning the music for next year's selections! I take such pleasure in knowing that the carols have brought joy to you. And this process has brought tremendous joy to me, as well-- during a difficult time, having this creative outlet to look forward to each day has helped me to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and encouraged me to get beyond the stress, pressure and fatigue that most mothers face, as they struggle to "make" the holiday for their families. For that, I am truly grateful.
I would be telling a falsehood if I were to say that I am sorry to see the passing of 2008. Without a doubt, this year has been the most difficult period of my entire life. However, I can definitely say that there have been things over this past year that I have been truly thankful for.
I am first and foremost thankful for my family, and for the love, health and mutual support that we all enjoy. I am most thankful that my brother chose THIS year to end his world-travels and return home to us, and to a new and exciting career that has allowed him to live a blessedly short distance away. How I would have managed to come through these past few months without him, I don't even want to contemplate...
I am also thankful for my friends-- old and new. Once I was finally able to share my difficulties with some of them, I came to realize that I am far from alone in all of the chaos that 2008 has wrought. We all have our own trials to bear, hard decisions to make, and new directions to follow. But, if we can bring ourselves to let others in on our burdens, I have learned that they become much easier to shoulder. One of the things that has helped me the most this year has been to be allowed the privilege of emotionally supporting a few of my friends who are also hurting. Not only has it provided me with the opportunity to shift my mind from my own difficulties, but it has helped me to regain a sense of self-worth, to know that simply providing a listening ear and a helping hand has made a difference in the life of another person. And, of course, the deepening and strengthening of a personal relationship is a gift beyond all measure.
To my mind, 2009 should be made the year of "reaching out" to one another. Above all else this year, I have learned how much we all need each other. We need personal connections, and to feel more free about forming new relationships, beyond our "comfortable circles". At times like this, it does the heart a tremendous amount of good to know that others care. And if we could all muster the courage to reach out to a few new people with whom we might not otherwise have become involved, imagine what a difference it could make in the lives of others-- and your own life, too.
A sense of community. A sense of caring.
A strong, mutually-supportive society of friends.
That is my wish for all of you in 2009.
From my house to yours,
Love, blessings, peace...
And the happiest of New Years.
Turn your eyes to the light,
Turn your face to the sun,
New life, new light, new love and hope...