What will the New Year bring? How will it be for me? These type of questions are those we might ask ourselves at the turning of the year. For some a new year can’t come quickly enough, “I’ll be glad to see the back of 2018” is the sentiment for some I know who have had a terrible 2018 with illness or other events in their lives. For many we enter 2019 with a sense of heightened uncertainty. I’m writing this in mid-December and events are moving so fast that anything I write here might be outdated by the time you read it, but the clock is ticking ever closer towards the date for Britain to leave the EU and right now the prospect for that happening with an agreement in place looks slim.

Maybe you’re not used to living with much uncertainty. Perhaps your own life has mirrored the relative stability of the political situation this country has typically enjoyed. On the other hand some of you may look at the political situation and see the turmoil and uncertainty of your own lives reflected there.
Throughout January and February we will be hosting guests of the Open Church Project in Portsmouth. The guests are people who have a great deal of uncertainty in their lives; an uncertainty about where they will sleep tonight or even where their next meal is coming from. Some people from this church will be involved in the project and many others have generously supported it, a demonstration of the level of compassion for those without some of the certainties most of us take for granted. Thank you.

Stability and certainty in everyday life is not something that is promised to Christians. The massacre of the Innocents and the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt as refugees is as much part of the Christmas story as the angels’ song and the wise men’s gifts. However, a distinctive aspect of the Christian message is hope, and yes I know I wrote about hope last month; Jesus, the hope of the world born at Christmas, but it’s worth remembering that Christians should be hopeful people all year round; hopeful in the cold dark days of January and February just as in the warmth and glitz of Christmas. It’s not a wishful thinking type of hope but the faithful hope that we have in something, someone, much greater than even the sum of all human wisdom, who holds all that there is together in his love. In this hope, which puts everything else into perspective, we can experience a peace and joy through relationship with the risen Lord. As Paul writes in his letter to the Romans –
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Happy and Hopeful New Year.

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