Yes I am four days late with the new year wishes. But having just come back to ‘work’ (“To what extent is pastoring a job/work? Discuss”) I am back in communication mode. I’ve spent the past few days in other forms of communication, including attempting to bankrupt or wipe out members of my family in games of Monopoly or Risk. It’s been a great Christmas/New Year break.
As a child, I often spent New Year at my granny’s house. This was two really small cottages knocked together at the back, but at the front there were two front doors leading to two staircases and two front rooms; brilliant for children who enjoyed creating a circuit to race round the house. Anyway, it also made the Hogmanay tradition of door opening easier – most people would have to open the back door and then run to the front to let the old year out and the new in; my granny just stepped outside and came in the other door.
I do like New Year still. Some years I’ve been in Edinburgh on Princes Street or the Mound with thousands of others, where everyone is your friend (though it’s only really good if you are with special people as well). When I lived and worked in Edinburgh as a junior doctor, even the main city hospital was festive at new year; I recall asking a patient whose head wound I was stitching how he got it, to be told, “I fell off a traffic light, doctor!” Of course.
This year I saw in the year with some of my church friends, playing silly games (does this sound familiar?) in the evening, hugs and kisses all round at midnight. We sang Auld Lang Syne and I thought that friendships old and new are worth celebrating.
I’m not one for new year resolutions, but I do find myself thinking of new starts, of things finishing and others beginning. What will the year bring? I’m expecting some good things: a wedding, a son going to university, the start of some church programmes we’ve been planning. I expect that there will also be challenges in the year, and I expect that they will come unexpectedly. I hope that I rise to all challenges, hold on to God, understand things better and grow through them. I pray for people to know God better and to represent God better.
Here’s to 2011 and all that it will bring.