Happy New Year! We say that to each other and we really mean it – and those good wishes come knowing that the person we are talking or writing to feels the same way towards us. So giver and receiver get a morale boost. There’s another opportunity around birthdays – and even a smile and a greeting at church on a Sunday have a similar effect.
Yet we all also know that one day is just like another: 1st January is no more special than any other day. Or put it the other way round: every day IS just as special as 1st January or 25th December. If we understand each new day as a gift from God, another opportunity to accept and pass on God’s love, a chance to be Christ to others, then the whole year becomes special.
Without mentioning names as there are so many, just think of the work, time, care, artistry, talent and love that wonderful people have put into decorating the church for Christmas, arranging and lighting candles, providing and serving refreshments, organising and staffing the Fair, preparing, singing and playing beautiful music, as well as magazine writing and editing, reading of scripture and counting of cash! It is all so much appreciated.
All that specialness has become part of us. It hasn’t disappeared – it is now within us and we carry it through into the New Year. Call it the radiance of the Star of Bethlehem, shining on and on. Maybe we can remind ourselves of that now and then, especially at darker times when the weather is drab, health may falter and morale drops a bit. ‘Thanks, Lord, for your Star!’
A huge effort went into the Pastorate Profile. What do we do next? Pray – yes, pray. The Advent message is: keep things going, in tip-top condition, maintaining the specialness… So it is as we wait: let it be an active waiting, providing our own ministry to each other, undergirded with prayer. As always, the best prayer is not so much, ‘Lord, bring us a minister with the qualities of X, Y & Z’ but a prayer for ourselves: ‘Lord, help us to be an active, responsive, loving fellowship that will know how to welcome the person you will send’.
THANKS to so many for the Christmas specialness. Let it continue!