I wonder what this New Year has in store for us.
I’ve been having a lot of problems with my computer recently and have come to the conclusion that my ‘expertise’ isn’t enough to sort it so I’m going to have to get someone in to look at it.
The problem I’m having is that a couple of my programs keep getting stuck and I’m unable to go forwards or backwards or to make any changes to the work in progress. It’s so frustrating if I’ve been working on a sermon or trying to send out emails. When this happens I have to use Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Computer users will know about this three magic button combination because when pressed at the same time you are given the option to stop the program, close it down and then start all over again. True, you’ll probably lose what you were working on but at least it allows a fresh start and the prospect of progression.
With the advent of a vaccine for Covid-19, many might be looking at the New Year as that magic restart button when we can just get back to normal. However, unlike Ctrl+Alt+Delete, the New Year won’t take us back to the start we all desire; to the time before Covid. The reality is we all have to carry on from where we are; we can’t erase the last year as much as we’d like.
But that’s the hope Christmas brings, that despite our circumstances we can have a fresh start – The Wise Men visited Jesus and were given a fresh start as they recognised him as the Messiah, God’s chosen one. To put it very crudely, He is the vaccine against the virus of sin which effects all of us. And, as any vaccine is designed to protect and preserve life so does Jesus.
As we leave 2020 behind us there is no magic restart button so we enter 2021 with us all the challenges, hopes and fears that we’d wished to leave behind but we do so hoping in the God who knows us and loves us so much he gave everything for us.
Knowing that must make 2021 a ‘Happy New Year’
Some of you will have picked up the fact that Prenton & Wallasey Village have a student, Karen Jones on placement with us. In usual times you would have Karen at church events, services and meetings but as these are mostly curtailed Karen joins us virtually or in written form. So I’ve asked Karen to give us a short introduction about herself which is below and ask that you pray for her in her studies and placements.
Hi. I’m Karen Jones, and I am training for the ministry of sacrament and word in the URC. I am in my second year now and have been placed with Wallasey village and Prenton URC as part of my training. I hope to be with you until the end of May. Alongside this I am also doing a chaplaincy placement in a shopping centre in Runcorn.
I am a widow with three grown up children all still living on Wirral, and I have two lovely granddaughters. I have been a member of the URC since I met my husband at Grange URC in Bebington. We got married in 1985, and joined St David’s URC in Eastham, where we live. I have served for many years as a youth leader, musician, elder and lay preacher. I am grateful for the Lord’s presence with me, and guidance through all the ups and downs of life.
I would never have thought God would lead me into ministry but now looking back I can see many ways in which he has been preparing me for this. I am constantly amazed by his plans and how he makes them happen.
I hope in the coming months I will get to know some of you at least a little. It’s a very strange time to be training, but I am sure we will find opportunities to worship together soon.
If any of you want to connect with me, my phone number is 07517 907229 and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you can use that address to look me up on facebook too.
God bless and keep safe
Happy New Year!
I’m sure that for many of us one of the words we’d use to describe our Christmas 2020 would be ‘disappointing’.
I, like many others, was looking forward to seeing all of my grandchildren, but with just a few days to go, the opportunity to get together our plans were dashed!
The house is decorated, the shopping is bought, the plans for a socially distanced gathering made but all of my family could not change their plans. (My freezer now bears the weight of my over catering!)
I say my freezer bears the weight, but the truth is that Jeff and I bear some of it too, the baking has to be eaten, – it would be rude not to! (Perhaps a New Year diet will be necessary!)
This Christmas has broken the mould, Many of us have been unable to wander the shops to browse; to visit friends and family; to dress up and enjoy social events and festive functions. Indeed, the mould has certainly been broken, not being able to be together in our church building, sharing fellowship, singing carols, and watching or being part of the ‘re-enactment’ of the first Christmas.
I have a collection of nativity scenes in various form and styles, our daughter Jenni thinks I may need treatment for my ‘Nativity addiction’; I can’t help myself I love to see the expression of the true Christmas story through the eyes of other people and traditions. (It could be worse I’m sure and I really don’t want to be cured.)
As I look forward to 2021, I wonder what the year will hold. Perhaps we should not make big plans; experience has shown us that our plans can be dashed and lead to disappointment. I think our plan should be to follow Jesus more closely, put our trust in His plan more firmly and put our hope in Him.
As I put away the decorations until next year and pack up all of the nativities, I don’t want to pack up Jesus from my life. The baby that came into the world to make dark things light and wrong things right was ‘Emmanuel, God with us’ not just for Christmas but for life whatever that brings in 2021.
I look forward to being in fellowship again, when it is safe, I look forward with a hope that is secure, – that God is with me and holds my future whatever that is.
Let’s not wish 2021 over too quickly, but I do hope that Christmas 2021 we will be together to celebrate ‘God with us.’
Happy New Year, much love Heather x