Welcome to 2010!

It’s that time again! New York City has the ball and Times Square, and Philadelphia has the Mummers! Every year, on New Year’s Day or some rain date close, thousands of Philadelphia-area men, women, and children take to the streets dressed in elaborate costumes covered with feathers, sequines, faux fur, yards and yards of colorful fancy cloth, and face paint, in an annual celebration of the beginning of a new year!

They strut, dance, whirl and twirl their way up Broad Street, then around City Hall and past the reviewing stand. The prizes inspire a fierce competition between the Clubs. Themes, costumes, and music are closely guarded secrets. There is also a Mummers Museum, where memorabilia is always on display. Philadelphia takes its Mummers’ tradition very seriously!

I’m feeling like celebrating the end of 2009 myself. Last year felt like one long trauma. Between the incident with the wayward tractor trailer in January to the 4-month stay in a depressing, custodial-care nursing home, the knee surgery, and all the rehabilitation, no one is happier to see 2010 than I am!

That’s not to say my situation was unique. Life tends to throw us all serious curves from time to time. The ongoing wars and their casualties, the recession, layoffs, economic downturns, health issues, and financial woes have struck most US families and institutions, in one way or another. We’ve all had extraordinary challenges this year.

Here’s a prayer for the new year!

If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,
I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.
Point out the road I must travel;
I’m all ears, all eyes before you.
Save me from my enemies, God—
you’re my only hope!
Teach me how to live to please you,
because you’re my God.
Lead me by your blessed Spirit
into cleared and level pastureland. (Psalm 143:8-10)

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