January 2012

Letter from the Minister

Dear Friends,

A very Happy New year to you all. Thank you for your good wishes both for Christmas .

What difference does a day make?
As we turn another page in the book of our lives, I ask what difference is there between 31 December and 1 January? None really. The sun rises a tiny bit earlier and sets that bit later, but that’s true of all the rest of the year for our ever-turning planet.
Of course, we make of a day what we collectively want to make of it. We have just cranked up the machine of expectation to fever pitch for Christmas Day. But this date is not universally observed: many Orthodox churches in Central and Eastern Europe celebrate Christmas on 7 January, having not, for church purposes, fallen in with the calendar altered by Pope Gregory centuries ago.

Having said this, it is good and mostly helpful to mark certain days as days of celebration or anniversary, for they prompt us to give thanks for the event marked, and give us the chance to break from routine, to discover other aspects to our daily lives and to invest time in our relationships with friends and/or family. They can truly be thus be holy days as well as holidays. Once they have passed they have passed, but, one hopes, the future is better for having marked the passing.

Two further observations: firstly, if we each look back over 2011 we shall find a few moments when the unexpected happened. We were given a chance, we took it and were thankful – a day out, a trip to the theatre, a vital phone call, an apology.... None of us knows what the rest of each day holds, let alone tomorrow or next month, so we have to be ready to “carpe diem”, to seize the day, and thus, hopefully, bless others and ourselves.

Secondly, I recognise that as the year has turned, we can have left some of our sadder, perhaps bitter-sweet memories “back there”. Anniversaries will still come, but just the changing of the date may help a little to rest the past and look forward to the future.

Treasure every day’s opportunity to give and receive love. Look forward to 2012, another year to advance Christ’s Kingdom in this world.
Yours, because His,
Paul