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Merry Christmas!


Greetings, friends!

As I write this afternoon, the rain is finally making its way down to us here in Los Angeles, and I find it so fitting to settle down, become quiet, and write to you.  

I was gifted with a wonderful poem recently by my friend James Walker, Director of Music at All Saints Church, who quotes Rabbi Harold Kushner.  I share it with you because it seems so perfect for this day and these times:  

A Prayer For The World, Rabbi Harold Kushner

“Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.

Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.

Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.

Amen.”

Amen indeed.  I am myself reaching for Heaven, each day, and I’ve been sad to be frustrated in this daily “try.”  There seem to be roadblocks with each new endeavor, and I wonder at times what it all means.  There are suggested ideas such as that this whole year was just a bad one, and given some big changes in our life, I feel that I could agree.  However, how must we move forward?  Find joy in small, everyday things perhaps?  Go inside and retreat?  Do unto others?  I think the answer is, do all of those things, as your heart guides you.  There IS laughter in the world, there IS joy, there IS love.  Those things will never die away, and in the hope that they once again dominate our thinking, I will press onward with what I know how to do:  let my heart breathe into music, give my soul in the making of art, and find beauty in all I do.  

The New Folk Ensemble is slowing down these days as we finished a spate of shows in the fall just past.  As I’ve written in these letters before, the band re-grouped in the summer to become the ensemble that we are now and have re-configured our goals for the future.  The goals are good ones in that we are forming new collaborations with great musicians and artists.  There are projects on the horizon, and we’re grateful.  

Look for more news of us as the New Year comes around.  We as always send you our love and appreciation for being our supporters and fans.  We cherish each and every one of you.  

To close for this time, I will again offer a poem, this time the words of a great Christmas song from my blessed friend, the great and late Jean Ritchie, “Wintergrace.”  My prayer is that we have the Wintergrace she speaks of, for ourselves, for others and for the world.  I so miss my dear Jean.  Bless her in Heaven, and all of you, too.

Merry Christmas,

With love from
Susie 

Wintergrace
(Jean Ritchie)

This is the time so well we love,
The time of all the year;
When winter calls with chilling breath,
For fireside and good cheer.

A time for man and beast to stand
And feel the season turn;
To watch the stars for secret signs,
And God's true lessons learn.

For the time...
  When the corn is all into the barn,
  The old cow's breath's a frosty wine
  And the morn along the fallow field
  Doth silver shine.

And when cold morning's radiant star
Shines over hill and plain;
We know anew that little Babe
Is born to us again.

And man and beast and bird in tree,
each one in his own place;
We bow our hearts and thank our God
For winter rest and grace.

For the time...
  When the corn is all into the barn,
  The old cow's breath's a frosty wine
  And the morn along the fallow field
  Doth silver shine.

Watch Jean sing "Wintergrace"  Here:   https://youtu.be/MvusiOLOHgA

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