This time last week I was in tropical Far North Queensland with my parents and my siblings. We were gathering round the Manger, at my sister’s home,
preparing to celebrate Christmas as of old. There was warmth in the air, in our hearts, and in the prolific poinciana glowing near the front door.
This week I am home again, in cooler Christchurch. My house seems too large and too empty, but the quiet stillness gives me time to prepare for the New Year. I fill the vases with the flowers that have bloomed in my absence.
There are flowers for the kitchen window sill,
flowers for the bedroom,
and some for the table, too.
Around the silence of the blooms, there travels bird song without, and words within…..
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind….
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land….
“Ring Out, Wild Bells” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1850 ).
And with bells ringing, there comes music swelling into the emptiness of the rooms.
Let the old go, let the new come. Welcome the year with unburdened, open arms. Greet it with love and warmth and the expectation that it will be good (but not necessarily easy). Know that with kindness and hugs you will have the fortitude to do your best. As it always has been and always will be.
If you would like a gentle blessing to ease out the night, I would suggest listening with me to Benedictus by Karl Jenkins.