January 2015

Another year has gone and a new one lies ahead. Do you look back on 2014 and say ‘Thank God that 2014 is over and I hope next year will be better?’ I know people who do every year and look forward to the New Year as a fresh start, a change of fortune, an opportunity to move forward with hope. Sad really to have to wait each year for that moment, as 1st January is a purely human idea and is part of the way our world is organised. Until 1752 in England the New Year began on 25th March as the year beginning and ending was related to the seasons for farmers. In Scotland the change took place in 1600 and for the next 150 years England and Scotland marked the New Year on different days yet still had the same calendar. We still have a remnant of this in the tax year which begins on April 6th because when the calendar was changed 11 days were taken off the year so the next day to March 25th became April 6th! Confused? Google it and all will be revealed.

In reality the start of any new year is really simply a start of something we need to count from; in other words, a new start. Which, of course, raises the question of why we need new starts? We have our birthday, our wedding anniversary and a new school year, as examples of new starts. We could simply mark our birthday by counting days since we were born so I would be around day 24, 300 days today! Every day would then be a fresh start; every moment in fact would be the beginning of something new. So as a new year approaches what are you going to begin and what are you going to put behind you? What are you going to hang on to and what are you leaving behind?

For each of us it will be something different and personal. It may be to do with relationships with others or even with ourselves. It may be that you want to achieve something that you have put off for a long time or even finish something started years ago. Whatever it is, you actually don’t have to wait until that arbitrary date of 1st January. Each moment is a moment to take hold of and to move forward with fresh hopes and new beginnings.

Maybe a subject for a new start is in our relationship with the God who created the world and everything in it. Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, said, ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5 v 17). It is our relationship with God that is so important in all our dealings with each other. Not that we should be perfect but that we should be aiming at seeking the best way forward in everything we try to do and the best way is always in union with the one who created us, loves us and on the cross brought us into that perfect relationship with him.

Have a great 2015,