Ringing in the New Year is always a joy once you get there, but sometimes it’s so cold and wind windy, I’d rather stay cozy in my bed with the covers snug around my neck. So what inspires me to bundle up and trudge to our tower to ring at midnight on December thirty-first? Tradition! It’s a once a year gathering of our Band of Ringers to welcome in the New Year. It brings us together to remember what the past year brought, individually and corporately. We all have joys and sorrows, loss of loved ones, the birth of new little ones and things we found challenging, things we overcame and problems we have yet to master. So, with all our differing emotions, we shake off the old and embrace the new. We ring whether we’re happy or sad. We need to keep our tradition.
When I was in Croatia after the war in the Balkans, I was helping roof houses in a small, devastated village. I experienced a beautiful thing when the villagers went to bring home a Bell for their church that had been taken from them. That bell was carried home on the back of a horse-drawn wooden cart. Men had traveled through the night to make this happen. Flowers decorated the bell, adding to the beauty of the sight. Flowers adorned the entrance to the church as well. Everyone in the town gathered to sing and worship, as the bell was hung where it belonged.
Tradition! Let us ring and make a beautiful noise to celebrate life, joy and new beginnings. Wishing you a blessed New Year!