This is also the time of year, I find, when I meet so many people who speak of Christmas with words like, "all over for another year". And whilst I understand that as a response to letting go of the additional stresses that the season can bring (and sometimes I use that phrase myself), at another level it saddens me.
Haven't we just missed the point of Christmas if we say that? The underlying story of all our Christmas celebrations is that baby in the manger. And though that event also happened at a particular once-in-history moment in the dance of the planets in the cosmos and in the earth's traverse around the sun, its consequences live on. As that baby grew to be a man, He revealed the full extent of God's remarkable gift; that through his Spirit, we too have been given the means to birth Him in our lives.
Emmanuel: God is with us. God abides in us. Now that's a cause for celebration!
So whether our Christmas has been lively or lonely, stressful or peaceful, painful or joyous; let's remember that each and every day is an opportunity for a new beginning - and that the Spirit of Emmanuel resides within us, inhabiting us with His love and His grace, and fully able to empower us for whatever lies ahead. God is the God of new starts; so every day can be a New Year's Day with God.
Thank you for your continuing interest in my ministry. And profound thanks to all those friends and retreat spaces who hosted me, and to those who supported me prayerfully and financially, during my recent Sabbatical. There are too many to name, but you know who you are - thank you! I am about to embark on an important new project, which I'll share more of soon.
I wish you all a deeply blessed, Spirit enabled year in 2016.
May you know the reality of the presence of Emmanuel in your life.