Nearly teatime on the first day of the new year. Mercifully we’ve seen some sunshine today instead of the incessant rain and grey gloom we’ve been living with over recent weeks. Some of you may have been nursing headaches from making merry last night, some of you may have been walking off some of that overindulgence in mince pies and rich Christmas food. Some of you may be looking forward to the new year, some may be dreading it, some may still be looking back at the year just past.
Reading various Facebook posts today there’s lots of genuine good wishes to our friends and families for better things to come, for health and happiness, blessings to be had. Some are beginning the painstaking process of taking the beloved (or not) decorations down, this is a very long job for some of my family who create marvellous winter wonderlands. Several have expressed regret, mourning the passing of the season and the sadness at seeing the tinsel tucked away.
Don’t get me wrong I love decorations, especially glittery baubles and twinkly lights and shiny tinsel. Its all part of the excitement and glory of Christmas. For many the decorations were put up with anticipation of happy family times and for some of my family and friends that didn’t happen as loved ones passed unexpectedly away. Our thoughts were particularly focused on the families in Connecticut and how on earth they would manage to deal with the unimaginable horror of what had happened especially at this time of the year. Even there in that place of tears and heartache adults are trying to show the children that there is more good than evil in the world.
Its so easy to lose the warm glow of Christmas when confronted with the stark reality of the news bulletins that fill our TV screens night after night. But we need not lose the real Spirit of Christmas. Just because the decorations have gone away does not mean we have to forget what it was all about. What it is all about still. Its not the presents or the tinsel or the feasts of turkey and mince pies but about a tiny baby who came to change lives and changes them still, who came to show the way that we can be saved from ourselves and the power of love that can conquer all.
As those who have been so recently bereaved of their loved ones put away the things of Christmas they do not forget those who were so precious to them. So it is with the truth of the Nativity, it can live on in our hearts and as it says so wonderfully in the book of Solomon in the Bible
“Love is stronger than death, many waters cannot quench love neither can the floods drown it.” If we’ve loved someone and they’ve loved us then the bonds of love go beyond death, they live in our hearts even though we no longer see them.
As we face a new year ahead with new challenges, new joys and sorrows my prayer is that you will all find that something of the promise of Christmas will resonate in your hearts, the promise of hope, redemption, forgiveness and love. Standing at the beginning of a new year is a moment filled with possibility to do something different, to think differently, to be different. There is a saying attributed to Henry Ford, American founder of the Ford Motor Company
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
What are you going to do this year to make a difference, to be different?
Wishing you all the best for 2013