In our churches as the year drew to an end and we begin the new year there have been some small booklets published by the Church of England called ‘Follow the Star – Join the Song – 12 Days of Reflections for Christmas and the New Year. The booklet invites you to hear and respond to the angels’ invitation to gather in the presence of the newborn Jesus. Well as you read this you may well be thinking about or have already put away the Christmas decs for another year but of course the Christmas story goes on leading us through Jesus’ childhood with the story of Simeon and Anna – people who recognised him in the Jerusalem Temple when he was brought by his parents to be presented to God as was the Jewish custom. The Christmas child grew up and began his ministry at the age of thirty. A ministry that lasted only three years before the authorities found a way to silence him or so they thought! Our church year soon turns from Jesus’ birth to adulthood and his experience in the wilderness, led by God’s Holy Spirit. Lent begins in earnest as we follow Jesus to the cross and the horror of Good Friday is transformed into the glory and joy of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Day!
As we begin this new year perhaps with many good intentions which are not always easy to keep we also hope for a brighter future for not only our own loved ones but for our world. It is easy in this rather difficult month of January to feel that all these hopes are somewhat in vain. Sometimes we just have to keep on putting one foot after another, keep on turning up, keep on trusting and keep on hoping. Musician and writer Nick Cave is quoted as saying “Hope is optimism with a broken heart.” Or we could say in other words, hope is believing in God’s promises even in the midst of the world’s pain. But yet, each day there are glimpses of what is in churchy terminology – salvation. God was born to us which we celebrate afresh each Christmas and now its up to us to put his love into action. We have had a chance to dwell in Christ’s presence during the twelve days of Christmas. In him we have seen salvation. Let us dwell on what we might have glimpsed of love, kindness and the goodness of most humankind through this Christmas season and build on this as we begin the new year.
Please know that your parish church is here to help and encourage you and pray for you as well as help you celebrate the joys you may know of which I hope you will experience many.
With my love and prayers and Happy New Year!
Post expires at 9:03am on Sunday December 29th, 2024