A Thought For New Year

A Thought For New Year


It is always darkest just before the day dawneth. – Many people have said this but it was first said by Thomas Fuller.

Happy New Year may sound slightly hollow at the moment. In these dark days of illness which touch every part of our lives and dreams it may be that you feel you’ve nothing to celebrate after a horrendous 2020. But I’d like us to think about hope, that great Christian virtue. Now, please understand Christian hope is very different to ‘worldly’ hope – for example, I hope I lose weight as I eat my seventh cream cake!! or I hope to retire soon as I buy a lottery ticket! I hope to get fitter as I watch the footie on the TV. I’m sure we could add to the list. This hope is often rooted in denial. Christian hope is truly acknowledging the reality of our situation yet we also have faith and hope in a deeper reality. A personal example for me is 5 years ago I went to see a surgeon with regards to a fourth major spinal operation to try simply to relieve pain and discomfort. As I sat in his office he said something like: I’m sorry but the pre-op test suggests that the condition/disease has progressed too far and is inoperable. I’ll be honest my first reaction was an equal feeling of depression and anger. Then I moved to bargain, God if you do this then I’ll do that!! Then, I need to throw myself into getting fit and beat this. Finally, after a while – I realized that my hope was in God. My hope consisted of I’d be as mobile as I could be. I’d do what I could do and accept that was fine. I’d not run marathons or climb mountains (walking around Winster is enough for me!!). My Hope was not that, like magic, my condition would disappear overnight. No, My hope was twofold 1, I would do all I could do and accept that was OK. 2. My hope was that no condition defined me. My hope was in Christ and my hope was that God loved me as I was. My hope was I am not ok, but that’s ok!! This is my hope for you. In 2021 we don’t know what the future holds. But my belief, my hope, the thing which my life is rooted on is God who looks at our community, and indeed our world, and as an anonymous author wrote: “You’ll never look into the eyes of someone God does not love.” In 2021 that is where my hope and where most Christians hope is found- in a God who loves all people. God doesn’t love following creed, colour, religion or political party. God loves all people. So in the difficulties to come and in the joys and normalization ahead may our hope rest in that love. That’s why I can wish you a very happy, peaceful and healthy New Year. God bless you all. What I’m trying to say is summed up by Aquinus. “Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.”

With my love and prayers for you all.

Revd. Stephen Monk.