Thought for the Month January 2023
The beginning of a New Year has dawned and I pray it will be happy one for each and every one of you.
I think it’s true to say that each year brings mixed blessing for many people. We all have our highs and our lows, our triumphs and tragedies. This is not only true of individuals but for families, communities, nations, indeed the world. In some years the triumphs outweigh the tragedies – sometimes not. 2022 has sadly been a ‘sometimes not year’ for many people, with wars, economic crisis, fears over health and welfare… it seems to have been more tragedy than triumph! and it would seem 2023 may be a continuation of the same.
It’s all too easy to feel like giving up and spiral into a sense of doom, we all start to blame leaders and politicians – sometimes with real justification. I appreciate that this is easier for some than others, but we all have a part to play in how our own lives, the lives of those around us and of society generally feels and develops. We don’t need to be like Private Frazer in Dad’s Army crying ‘We’re doomed Captain Mainwaring!’ We can be part of the solution, especially with God’s help.
In December’s ‘Thought for the Month’ and in in our Christmas Morning Service, we thought about the messages Christmas brings, How Jesus came to bring peace on earth, forgiveness, reconciliation and hope. The angels declared ‘Glad tiding of great joy.’ In the few days that surround Christmas, even in an increasingly commercially led world, signs of love, generosity, can still be found, people reconnect with one another. We also considered how we receive and how we respond to those messages. And I’d like to finish the season in the same vein.
Although the next few weeks may contain more bad news, harsh weather, wind, snow, ice… gradually spring will appear, green shoots, blossoms, new life springing forth. One of the earliest promises in the Bible is in Genesis 8: 22
22 As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night,
shall not cease.’
In spite of how it may seem sometimes, God is consistent and he keeps his promises. It is us I fear that are inconsistent.
Variety is the spice of life they say and yes, it’s truly wonderful, the seasons being just one example. In the church we move from Advent to Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Eastertide, all events marking hugely significant events in Jesus’ Life, primarily His Birth, Death and Resurrection. And it’s right and proper that we acknowledge and celebrate these events. In between the main festivals, the church has what is sometimes referred to as ‘Ordinary Time.’ Ordinary! Really? This ‘Ordinary Time’ is an opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ teachings, surely anything but ordinary and surely anything but seasonal.
So for one last time, then I promise to get off my hobby horse for a while, let’s not allow the message of Christmas, or Easter come to that, just have a seasonal affect. Let’s make Jesus’ teachings consistent in our lives. Not ordinary, not seasonal, but holy. Spreading compassion, love, forgiveness, reconciliation and hope throughout all the year.
Make this coming year, a year of
Peace, harmony and hope we pray.
Give us all the strength to face
Whatever it may bring
Knowing you will be there beside us,
All the way. Amen.