New Year : New Hope – a reflection from the Bishop of Peterborough

NB: This reflection was written prior to the current government lockdown.

I am writing this on Advent Sunday, such is the way of deadlines. I want to suggest that at New Year, we should be looking forward rather than back, but I’ve already fallen into the trap of checking to see what I wrote this time last year – so there goes my first resolution, more than a month before January!

I’m glad, though, to see that, in innocence and ignorance of all things covid, I wrote (in capital letters, which I usually resist) GOD CAN BE TRUSTED. That will certainly be worth remembering in 2021 as well.

By the time you read this, we will or won’t have trade and other agreements with the EU; Parliament will or won’t have agreed to the strict new three-tier coronavirus regulations; the first vaccines will or won’t have been approved and rolled out for use; England will or won’t have won the first Autumn Nations Cup rugby championship, and the one-day cricket series against South Africa; Donald Trump will or won’t have accepted defeat … a lot can happen in a month.

And if a lot can happen in a month, what about a whole year? Who could have predicted so many aspects of our lives being overturned in 2020? (There I go, looking back again. That’s two forfeits so far.) So, how can we look forward into a new year, when it could be overwhelmingly good, or equally bad, or just not very memorable at all? We can probably rule that third option out, but the question remains: How can we look forward?

The answer, of course, is by looking to Jesus: Jesus the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lord of the years, the Lord of the future; Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith (I hope you can join in my course of Bible studies on Hebrews this spring); Jesus our hope.

We have very little idea of what is in store for us in this new year. But it is still the Year of our Lord 2021, so we enter it with hope in him.

With best wishes
+Donald

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