Happy New Year! What a relief to leave 2020 behind. Yes, we have passed from one year to the next, but instead of going out with a bang and coming in with parties, music, dancing and strains of Auld Lang Syne, we slipped out of 2020 into 2021 quietly, guided by the COVID restrictions.
But this year starts as a year of hope. The continuing rollout of vaccines, longer days, the prospect of Spring and even, hopefully, summer holidays with family and friends. This is a good time, through these early months of the year, to reflect on the good things that we can take away from last year, the positive memories, the things we are thankful for.
It is also an opportunity to think, with the distance of a few months, about what we have learned through the experiences of last year - learned for ourselves, for our community and for our country - even for our world. A friend of mine is part of a research programme with the Wellcome Trust and has to carry out certain assignments which are used to produce an annual report on the thinking of the ordinary person in the UK. She was asked to suggest ONE thing that would transform her community. When you stop to think about it, that’s a tough question. If we ask ourselves that question, in the light of all that has happened over the last year, with COVID and Brexit, I wonder what our response would be?
We are so fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the country, with excellent schools, good health facilities and access to almost everything we need. So, what ONE thing would transform our community?
At this time of year, in early January, we traditionally remember the visit of the Magi to Jesus, bringing their costly gifts of gold, a symbol of royalty; frankincense, a symbol of worship; and myrrh, a symbol of death. When we serve one another, we are giving the gift of ourselves, a gift that God values, and one which will enrich our community during the coming year.
God bless, Bill