“Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5)
I have just been watching some morning television, where the discussion was about when people start preparing for Christmas. Supposedly 50% of the British population thought it was not too early to start the run up to Christmas in August. Of course, this was not about the coming of the Saviour of the World, but about buying presents, cards and decorations. One of the supermarkets had put some Christmas items on sale in July. But it did make me wonder about our attitude towards the ‘Festival of the Birth of Jesus Christ’, and if we pigeonhole it to wintry days at the end of December, or at least only to the four weeks of Advent that cover December.
If you thought me musing about Christmas in my September letter was a little premature, then me wishing you, “A Happy New Year” probably falls into the same category of being overly ahead of schedule. But the new school year and the new Methodist year start in September. For many September marks new beginnings, and progression from what was, to new possibilities. And we start a new period in the York Circuit with Keith Albans taking over as the new Superintendent Minister and new ministers joining us. The circuit is about to become somewhat different with these changes. So, I am unapologetic in offering a greeting with expectations of good times ahead for this new start, in the life of the Methodist churches locally. For me personally, I am starting my second year in ministry having some idea of what to expect, while also knowing there will be much that is new. If, and when, I manage to fulfil all the church requires of me as a Probationer I will be ordained at the start of July 2018 as part of the Methodist Conference in Nottingham. That will be a unique moment, and a sign of commissioning for God “making all things new”. But that expectation is not for me alone – it should be for each of us as we continue in following Jesus – as we should be experiencing God the Holy Spirit making things new for us, each year.
But that does leave me wondering about our celebration of Jesus coming among us as fully human and yet still fully divine. Like special birthdays or anniversaries, such events are commemorated with singular days, but they mark something that is on-going and significant every day. That means everyday is Christmas, in a sense. For we live in a world where Christ is here, having been born among us. In that context, I do hope and pray that the year ahead holds the promise of new things which will bring each of us nearer to God and his Son Jesus.
May God bless you all,