Once more it’s my pleasure to wish you all a “Happy New Year” although I wish it didn’t come round quite so quickly!
Each New Year gives us the opportunity to take stock of our lives and see what could be improved on leading to our making of New Year’s resolutions. Have you made yours? Have you broken it already? Alas me too!
However, the New Year is also a time of unknowns. We don’t know what lies ahead, either for us as individuals, or as a community, or as a nation, and that can be scary. I know there are those of you thinking back to twelve months ago and happier times. This last year has seen the loss of many dear to us, some from our Church family and, as you may know, I lost my sister-in-law unexpectedly in August. The loss of someone we love makes us aware that we can’t take this life for granted and we need to make the most of what we have been given. Thanks to God, we can be confident that we not alone as we face uncertainty. There are many occasions in the Bible where God promises to be with us and not least Jesus’ own promise at the end of Matthew “Remember I will be with you always until the end of the age.” That is a great comforting thought to take with us as we move into 2019.
It’s also natural to be hopeful and optimistic that the New Year will bring good things. I love the cover of this month’s magazine chosen by our wonderful Editor, Mary, and its message – “A Year of Potential”. It’s the potential of the New Year that makes it exciting. Anything is possible.
We have the seed of the New Year “2019” producing the seedling then the plant bursting forth with its blossoms and finally producing the fruits to enjoy. That picture could be representing plans we make – a new career, a new house, new hobby or it could be symbolic of where we are in our own spiritual lives. St Paul in his letter to the Galatians (Gal 5. 23-33) encourages us to produce the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. The picture reminds us that fruits take time to develop and ripen and so we should remember that as we think of our own inadequacies. We are all a work in progress. More encouragement from St Paul – “I am confident that he who has started a good work within you will bring it to completion.” (Philippians 1.6)
Perhaps that’s the thought to take with us into the New Year. God is not finished with us yet. With each new day there is the opportunity to grow and develop no matter how old we are. Also, if life’s path is not smooth remember we grow more and learn more about ourselves during the rough times than we do when everything is going well and it’s that self-awareness which enables those fruits of the Spirit to grow.
So God bless you all. May you know the power of His love to strengthen and encourage you in this New Year and may you all enjoy a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Here’s to 2019 – A Year of Potential!