Happy New Year and new beginnings!
It is a joy to be able to wish you a Happy New Year. Although this New Year represents the start of 2020, there are actually lots of times throughout the year when we celebrate new
beginnings. There is the new life at Easter and in the spring, there is the new school year in September and the church actually starts its new year late November or early December, with the beginning of the season of Advent. In between all of those, each of us recognises the start of a new year of life with our individual birthdays.
Whether it is the crisp new pages of a new diary or school book, there is something deeply attractive to a fresh start which appeals to us all. No doubt it is this enthusiasm which leads us to set New Year’s resolutions, as we try amidst the more grinding parts of daily life to hold onto the excitement of the ‘new’.
At Christmas we have just celebrated the most incredible ‘new’ of all. The birth of a new baby transforms everything for the family and community of which they are part, but this baby was different. This baby grows up to be the one who says, “I am making all things new”.
As we celebrate a New Year, the church reminds itself in the season of Epiphany that, just less than 2000 years ago, people were just beginning to realise who Jesus is and what he came to do. We remember the gifts of the wise men that show Jesus to be King, God and Sacrifice, we remember Jesus’ baptism where God identifies him as his son, and we remember the calling of the first disciples.
I hope that you have all had a blessed and peaceful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus, and I wonder if in this New Year, you might resolve to discover more about what he did when he grew up. Whatever we resolve to do this New Year, we might end up joining the many who fail to keep their resolutions beyond a few weeks, but even if we fail, this Jesus still has something to offer us that is not based upon our own success. Although in December we remember Jesus as a baby, in January, we remember his new beginnings, his new ministry and his new place in the lives of his disciples, and he continues to call people to be his disciples now.
Whilst it is a clichéd phrase, in January we need to realise that Jesus is for life, not just for Christmas!
With every blessing for the New Year