January 2024

So a new year starts, and how quickly it seems to come round! We look back on 2023 and try to take stock. We also look forward to 2024 and what it may bring.

For each of us, the past year will have been different, because we are all different in circumstance, attitude or temperament. For the good things we will want to say thank you. Over the more troublesome things, there may be regret, sorrow or even maybe anger. Of course, all of us reflect on the wider global picture – on a 2023 that saw war in Ukraine, Myanmar and latterly Israel/Gaza. We will grieve over that, and we won’t leave out of account the hardships closer to home, whether locally or nationally.

Will things get better? That is the age-old human question: is there any place for hope in our thinking? I believe that without hope, actively encouraged and believed in, we are frankly lost. For hope says that things can be otherwise, and that things can be better. We’re not stuck with the present, and it matters that we should believe this. And we should encourage each other to see things as they are and then beyond what they are, to encourage each other in hope.

The Christian hope is that things will turn out well in the end – indeed, that is a central part of the whole Bible story, and Jesus is at the heart and fulfillment of it.

I hope that 2024 will bring good things for you and for our community.

Every blessing – and make the most of every precious moment that life gives.