First Word December/January


The double issue of the Nar Valley News covers both Advent, Christmas, the New Year and Epiphany, so quite a lot of ground! In so many ways this has been a challenging year, the effects of the war in Ukraine, the death of our late Queen, and the worrying challenges for household budgets facing so many people, and much more. Keeping our spirits up as we face a New Year isn’t going to be as easy this year. The Church is entering Advent, a period of waiting on God, of reflecting on the gift of Christ at Christmas. This is not the leader or a King as the world expected, but a vulnerable baby born in trying circumstances, and one who chose a life with little money, no possessions, and a determination to serve humanity in all humility and at all costs. As we reflect on the Queen’s life of service, we can perhaps pray for the leaders of the world in 2023 that they can model their own leadership on service of all, with a priority for the poorest and weakest Whatever the challenges it is always good to give thanks for the blessings of our lives, for our family, loved ones, neighbours and friends. As we gather to celebrate Christmas many will have less than usual, but perhaps in this world where many have little or nothing and others far too much that can be a moment to reflect too? Epiphany, literally “making things known” is that time after Christmas when the church reflects on what is being revealed to us about the child of Bethlehem, so much of it requiring us to open our minds and hearts to new truths, new understandings of what is truly important, what we truly need as opposed to what we might simply want, well perhaps those lessons will be a help for us in 2023. New Year is deeply poignant for many people, as they reflect on all that has been gained and lost in the year that is ending, and for some look forward with trepidation. Let us wish each other well, commit ourselves to look out for those who need us, and determine to look for what is good in life, in others and ourselves as we begin this New Year. Every blessing to you and yours for all that lies ahead in the coming weeks. Richard