Happy New Year!

2nd January 2022

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”  Alfred Lord Tennyson

What are your hopes for 2022? As you contemplate the year ahead, what will be your priorities? Under our current circumstances we might respond differently or think differently to before the pandemic. With a sense of uncertainty still hanging in the air, many resort to living for the day or the moment, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing: we need to treasure the time we have, but we cannot live in that mode forever. In itself it will create uncertainty – and no-one really likes perpetual uncertainty. 

So what plans are you making, realising that plans can easily change, but at least they give us a path to follow? Many may well hold onto sayings such as those of Alfred Tennyson. Hope beckons, life will get better, there are new opportunities ahead, the New Year will be happier. We need the positivity and encouragement these sayings can bring, especially if people have been or are struggling with life, or are facing huge challenges that seem insurmountable. However, often they ring hollow and end up just being wishful thinking, helping us face tomorrow.

The period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day can feel like a waiting room. Some have returned to work whilst others are taking an extended break until the New Year. For some the period just drags until life starts again as the Christmas season fades and the New Year begins. It can also  give us an opportunity to step back from all the celebrations, and the presents and the parties and get togethers and general bonhomie, that can become very tiring. It gives us the chance to put Jesus back at the centre before we begin the New Year. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on the serious business for which Jesus was born.

Simeon and Anna were two Jewish prophets who are mentioned in the second chapter of Luke’s gospel. Year in, year out they had been waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promise to Israel that a saviour would come. They saw in Jesus the fulfilment of the expectations of the people of Israel through long years of waiting. They had never lost sight of the promise of God. They were not going to see how Jesus grew and lived out the promise of God, given their age. However, they had remained focussed on God their saviour,  trusted him and rejoiced in the birth of Jesus.

2022 is no more uncertain than any other year, with or without Covid. 2022 holds just as many hopes and fears as years past. As Christian people we go into the New Year holding fast to the redemption of the world found in Jesus Christ. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus said, ‘Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:16) Perhaps this could be our road map for 2022 as we keep our focus on Jesus Christ.

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