So often the news seems to be worrying or even upsetting, this has been so true in 2021.
It’s hardly surprising that many end the year tired and perhaps a little bewildered. The blight of the Coronavirus has affected us all. However, let’s be careful in case we slip into being too negative. We’d not want to be people who find it difficult to see what is good and beautiful.
There has been good news, and among the awful times there have been positives too. The Positive News website gives us 26 positive news items to be thankful for in 2021. Have a look, and be thankful!
Why not pause and look back over 2021? Can you list some positives of last year? We may not be able to reach 99 reasons but we will surprise ourselves by how many reasons we can find. It is a good and honoured Christian tradition to ‘count our blessings,’ many of them simple and everyday.
As the year ends it is ‘good to give thanks and praise.’ Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures for ever. (Psalm 107.1)
Saying ‘Thank You’ to God is at the heart of the Christian faith, and it’s at the heart of our worship. Another name for the Mass is Eucharist, a Greek word meaning thanksgiving.
One good tradition many Christians follow at the end of the year is to say or sing the ancient hymn Te Deum Laudamus (We Praise you, O God). It’s found in many prayer books of many Christian traditions.
“Te Deum laudamus! We praise you, O God! The Church suggests that we should not end the year without expressing our thanks to the Lord for all his benefits. It is in God that our last hour must come to a close, the last hour of time and history. To overlook this goal of our lives would be to fall into the void, to live without meaning. Hence the Church places on our lips the ancient hymn Te Deum. It is a hymn filled with the wisdom of many Christian generations, who feel the need to address on high their heart’s desires, knowing that all of us are in the Lord’s merciful hands.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
Why not take a moment and pause to listen to it, for example in the glorious version sung at the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 – Stanford in B Flat. (Sung by Winchester Cathedral Choir here). Or if you’d prefer a traditional plainsong version here it is sung by the Monks of Solesmes.