Christmas and New Year sees a glut of messages and words of wisdom for the season.
It does seem strange that the flick of the calendar from one day to the next creates such feelings, but it is perhaps only human and so we look back on what has been and forward to see what is to come.
The Queen’s message is always a highlight and over the last few years it has often contained a strong Christian ethos. This year was no exception and she spoke of the inspiration of Christianity for billions of believers and added, “I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.” A simple but powerful message of the ability to inspire others to great works, simply and effectively said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury made a similar point of the need to welcome and stand with the suffering and defeated. The Pope also urged that there be genuine peace on earth among all peoples, inspired by the love and power of God as contrasted with the pale shadow of power and might of the world.
All these messages of love and peace are then followed by – the January Sales! Materialism runs rampant and the message of love for neighbour is lost in the cut and thrust of beating everyone else to the top bargains!
The Christmas wishes of love and kindness get put back in their box along with the decorations and it is business as usual.
New Year is also often associated with the making of resolutions. You look back and reflect on what has gone before and consider how things can be better. You then look forward hoping to make things better through making a resolution. But how many are quickly broken, submerged under the weight of the unstoppable leviathan of human nature.
The truth is that people only usually change after a major calamity or else through a religious experience. I would rather avoid the calamity and opt for the religious experience.
The point of the Christmas messages mentioned is that God is the prime mover and enabler of change for the good. The crimes and atrocities often committed in his name are not from him.
So there is the challenge. What New Year’s message would we write and want to pass on to our fellow travellers?
What wisdom do we each possess that could help to make our world a better place? Do any of us have the power within ourselves to be able to bring about change or do we need to look to a power beyond ourselves?