January 2019


As I put pen to paper to write this article I am recovering from a sudden realisation that no School Assembly involving anyone under the age of 7 will survive if you mention the word ‘Christmas. ’Oh, yes I did…and the entire assembly dissolved into a variety of comments, most of which involved the words Presents, Mince Pies, Rudolph, Santa, Elf on the Shelf, Custard and Santa’s Little Helper.  Not necessarily in that order you understand.  Actually, Mince Pies and Custard weren’t really mentioned, that was just wishful thinking on my part.


However, I’ve learnt over the years as a Vicar that you have to reinvent yourself every so often, and you have to learn to change and adapt to new people, places and most certainly the children in your schools.nbsp; The days of simply telling a story and linking it to a bible story or lesson are long gone.  Nowadays I like to include a few videos, often of Minions or Shrek, and link them to Jesus’ teachings.  But the reality of needing to change tactics in order to maintain someone’s interest, be it a child or an adult, is a timely reminder that the New Year is a time of new beginnings, where we make all sorts of promises to ourselves about how ‘this year it will all be different.’  There’s something about the New Year that hands us an opportunity to do things differently.  To change our lives and send them off in a completely new direction.


Many people will change jobs.  hey may take up a new hobby.  Others will conclude now is the time to start looking for a new house, new car, new….oh well, you get the idea.  Having gone through the whole busyness of Christmas with all the parties, present shopping, food shopping, last minute food and present shopping not to mention the wrapping (and subsequent unwrapping) of presents given and received, followed by the cooking and consuming of copious amounts of food washed down with either alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) drinks, we start looking forward to placing further demands on our lives by making life-changing decisions.  Many couples will begin discussions about wedding dates, or baptisms, or having children, or having more children if the last one didn’t put us off (which of course they didn’t, the little lambs).


I think, all things considered, the New Year has a lot to answer for.  But for me , at least, it defines how our relationship with the world should be.  One that allows us to see things in new ways and redefines how we relate to those around us.  It’s almost as if we receive some sort of tacit approval somehow.  There are just certain times when it’s almost a requirement to reconsider your life and start afresh…even if everything around you remains the same.


Of all those times, the one that stands out for me was the day I accepted Jesus into my life…first in a small way, then more fully, day by day.  Interestingly, it all started one New Year’s Day.  You just never know what the next year might bring.  I pray it brings you all the challenges and opportunities you hope for. 

May you always be blessed

Rev Paul