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From the Vicarage - January

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

Happy New Year!

The extended seasonal period which brings us to New Year also tends to bring with it numerous pressures, and not a few unknowns. Some of those concerns may revolve around the whole business of travelling. Will hazardous weather conditions get in the way of us getting to relatives, or them to us? Will public transport run at the times we require it in order to get to us to and back from places? Will strike action mean it doesn’t run at all, or will the wrong sort of leaves or ice on the line simply bring everything to a standstill?

Needing, or desiring, to make a journey can be a stressful occupation. Never having been a regular user of the railways, I have always found negotiating the information displayed at railway stations a rather stressful occupation. Knowing the place where you intend to board the train and knowing the place at which you intend to get off the train is simply not enough. It is knowing the train’s destination – where it will finally end up – which is important. Only then is it really possible to set out with some sense of confidence.

A New Year automatically brings with it the sense of new beginnings.

A New Year may also bring with it a real sense of endings.

A New Year also brings with it a renewed sense of the unknown. We don’t really know what the future holds for each of us. In these uncertain times that can feel to be especially true. We cannot fully know what this particular New Year will have in store.

The season of Epiphany, with which January begins, brings with it our recalling of the journey of the Wise Men seeking still to find the Christ-child. They travelled through the unknown, and no doubt across terrain and through conditions which were at times less than favourable or comfortable. They did not even know the location or the details of the place they were meant to end up!

What they learnt, however, was that they were accompanied and guided by One who did know. What they discovered was that in taking the journey they would find the One for whom they had always longed, and that in so doing all else would begin to make sense.

“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 better than light and safer than a known way’.”

(Words from the popularly named ‘Gate of the Year - a piece which the author, M. L Haskins, herself called ‘God knows’.)

A Happy and Blessed New Year to You All

Carolyn (Priest in Charge)

The Reverend Carolyn A James


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