Christmas is now well behind us, and it's that time of year which so many people dread. The depths of winter; the festivities over with for another year; short, dark days; a time to review (and perhaps regret) exactly how much Christmas cost us. It's even worse if we're struggling physically, and currently we're all living with the uncertainty, and perhaps the illness, of Covid.
Nevertheless, this is the time of year when I get hopeful about the year ahead. We can already notice the days getting longer; we see signs of new life and growth; bulbs poking their heads above the ground; the pretty snowdrops in the churchyard. I always marvel at what is to me the annual miracle of new growth, even in what might still be the depths of winter. But it's not only in nature that God provides. God continually provides us with opportunities for new beginnings in our lives, giving us the opportunity to put right those things which may previously have gone wrong.
If our New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside, it's never too late to make others. Perhaps we might resolve to be the one to instigate a family event, a get-together, or a reunion, perhaps with those with whom we may have lost touch, or with whom our relationship may have deteriorated. That way we ourselves are encouraging new growth within our own lives - the new life within us which Jesus is always seeking to bring about.
The most important things in life are people. Remember the saying "Christmas begins with Christ"? Jesus Christ is at the centre, not only of Christmas, but of all our lives, always. Jesus is with us, encouraging us, urging us to live new lives - to put right the wrongs and thereby allow new life and new growth within ourselves.
I pray that we may all be able to see new growth this New Year, not only all around us, but within us also.