January 2019

A New Year has arrived and many of us have been busy marking a new start and a fresh beginning. Some enjoy a party to start off the new year and look forward to exuberant celebrations with friends and family, others may prefer something rather quieter.

Some of us will have taken on new challenges with resolutions and better fitness and eating regimes. It seems easy to change at the start of a new year but as the weeks unfold, learning new ways can seem harder.

There can be all kinds of mixed emotions at such “liminal” times of change and transition. For some new year is a magical time: New Year’s Eve can feel like a gateway between the past and the future: A time to take stock of the year that’s ending, perhaps to remember previous years, and an opportunity to imagine or dream about things we hope the future may hold.

All of this may fill us with excitement or it might leave us feeling rather unsettled. Standing on a threshold can be scary place; whatever‘s behind us or things that may lie ahead can offer such a mixture of challenge and blessings. We don’t know how the new year will work out, or what will happen in our own lives and in the lives of those we care about.

There’s a lovely Jewish tradition that recognises all of this, in the fixing of words of scripture, as a sign of God’s presence on door posts. Those who pass through are encouraged to touch these as a way of acknowledging that God is our constant guardian, watching over all the comings and goings of life, caring about our joys and sorrows.

Christians may recall that Jesus spoke about doors and gateways as places of hope, invitation and opportunity. He even described himself as “the door” or “the gate” reminding us that there can be something holy about change and transition. He offered words of encouragement to any who feel anxious about the future: “Knock and the door shall be opened” he said. These words might spur us on to welcome whatever the New Year may bring us with hopeful and expectant hearts.

Mary Stallard

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>