Here's Rev. Justin Montague with our final blog post of 2022!
Christmas and New Year blessings to you!
I write this final message of 2021, aware that when it is received, our individual and national circumstances and the way in which we celebrate Christmas and New Year might have changed yet again due to Covid-19.
My prayer for you all this Christmas, is that amidst any uncertainty, you may find great comfort, security, and reassurance in the promises of God, promises fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ, of whom the prophets declared, the angels rejoiced, and the psalmist sang.
The end of one year and the beginning of a new year are a naturally reflective time. The inevitable transition causes us to look back on what has past and set our goals and hopes for the year ahead. Parts of 2021 like 2020, may not have gone quite as we hoped. Many of us will have experienced disappointments or cancellations or been forced to adjust our plans.
But, for all of us too, if we think carefully, 2021 had many joys, new beginnings and transformation, extraordinary acts of human kindness, deep-hearted generosity, blessings from unexpected places and provision. Additionally, moments of gratitude, affection and thankfulness and a rejoicing in reuniting.
We step into each new year, like a new page or chapter in our lives, as we might see in our diaries or on our calendars. There is great value in pressing the pause button to reflect and remember. What was it like? Where did we see God’s hand?
The New Year is an opportunity for each of us to make a fresh start, make plans and to reignite our enthusiasm. I believe that in Jesus Christ, each one of us can make a new start on any day of the week, month or year. A new beginning that starts with a change of direction toward him where we discover a true hope and joy, not based on external circumstances, but from a relationship with the living God, a joy that was won on the cross and in which true eternal hope is discovered. And it is through this step, the catalyst for the greatest transformation begins, as you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God with you always.
None of us can predict this new year ahead, but we can be assured about what God is going to do in the present and the future, because we can trust the amazing things He has done in the past. What he has done in the past tells us who God is today and it’s a promise of what God wants to do in the future so may we rest secure in His love.
I close 2021 with the poignant words of the poem ‘God Knows’ written by Minnie Louise Haskins and famously broadcast by HM King George VI as part of his 1939 Christmas broadcast:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
Go well, God bless and see you next year.
Rev. Justin Montague
It starts with Christmas,
But it doesn't have to end there...
Christmas can raise a lot of questions, and so as we head into the New Year, we would love to invite you to our Alpha series starting on Thursday 27th January 2022.
Alpha allows you to explore questions of the Christian faith in an open-minded and friendly environment. There's no cost and no pressure. Just lots of great conversation, space to think - and cake!
We will be hosting our next Alpha course on Thursday evenings at St Paul's Church, starting on 27th January 2021. Why not add Alpha to your New Year Bucket List.
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