While President Obama’s message is to sign up for healthcare before it is too late, the Queen’s message strikes a tone for the times.
"With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock, be it through contemplation, prayer or even keeping a diary. Many have found the practice of quiet personal reflection surprisingly rewarding, even discovering greater spiritual depth to their lives."
Well, millions of people are keeping their diaries these days. It is called Facebook, Google Plus, and a host of other vehicles for recording and sharing activity and thoughts.
Personal reflection is the focus, the idea to think about what you are doing and to contrast that against the big picture of life. There is the possibility that one may experience spirituality in the process, that is, discovering humility that acknowledges that there may be other things in life of even greater importance than your own.
Now, Pope Francis is strengthening relevance and purpose these days by addressing practical matters that affect all human beings. What did he say today?
First of all, his message contained religious duty.
"On this night, let us share the joy of the Gospel. God loves us. He so loves us that he gave us his son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness. To us the Lord repeats, 'Do not be afraid,' ... And I, too, repeat, do not be afraid,'" the Pope said.
"Our Father is patient. He loves us, he gives us Jesus to guide us on the way which leads to the promised land. Jesus is the light who brightened the darkness. Our Father forgives always. He is our peace and light."
Than Pope Francis offered this:
“If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light. But if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us, and around us. Whoever hates his brother -- writes the Apostle John -- is in the darkness; he walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has blinded his eyes."
This is a good year to seek and follow the light.